Alcohol-related deaths were up 25 percent (compared to an average annual increase of 3-5 percent) during the pandemic, the New York Times reported. That’s a huge increase. For people under the age of 65, those alcohol-related deaths were slightly higher (around 75,000) than deaths from Covid.
There are all sorts of reasons—increased stress, decreased access to treatment, isolation, even pouring drinks at home rather than at a bar can lead to drinking more.
I’ve had my own uptick in alcohol throughout Covid. As I’ve written about many times (and again in To Be Made Well), a glass of Chardonnay is a habitual place for me to return to numb my feelings of anxiety, or to look for rest and peace in the midst of loneliness or busyness. But I’ve also found that this “solution” never solves the problem. The loneliness and busyness and anxiety are still there. There are underlying wounds that need more than alcohol as a solution. There are underlying wounds that need love in order to heal.
The Times quotes John Kelly, the director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital:
“We are entering an era in public health where we are talking more about promoting wellness and building resilient people,” he said. “What we are doing now is not sufficient. We need to help people live meaningful purpose-filled lives.”
We all need to be made well. And if we can begin to believe that we are beloved, we can also begin to heal.
More with Amy Julia:
- Lent is Not About Sacrifice. It Is About Desire.
- What I Learned When I Tried to Stop Drinking So Much Wine
- To Be Made Well: An Invitation to Wholeness, Healing, and Hope
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