With The Pandemic Seemingly Easing…

Looking at the “usual suspects” when it comes to self-medication, it’s easy to see why alcohol consumption has grown – at least at home – over the past 16 months:

  • Loneliness – not a lot of time with anyone outside of one’s household, and the concurrent recognition that one can be lonely at home too
  • Boredom – how many jigsaw puzzles and loaves of sourdough bread can you stomach?
  • Anxiety – pretty self-explanatory, especially since alcohol is the best anti-anxiety drug ever discovered;
  • Escape – again, easy to see when alcohol’s “protective bubble” gives you a bit of respite from the demands of spouses and children;
  • Depression – all of the foregoing contribute to depression, and the infusion of alcohol, primarily a depressant, ultimately exacerbates the downward slide;
  • Unbalanced Relationships – with no escape to offices, lunches, gyms, and other social and recreational activities, or the associated friends, all of the annoyances of our primary relationships are greatly magnified and there is nothing like alcohol as a passive-aggressive “F.Y.” or for converting passive to active aggression.

Enough to make you wonder how any of us survived the ravages of the pandemic itself without succumbing to murder, divorce, weight gain, unplanned pregnancy, or any number of other unintended consequences.

In addition to the foregoing, one major unintended result is finding ourselves, as things open up again, wondering, “Now what?” And I don’t think any of us are escaping that transition.

I know from clients, past and present, as well as friends and, yes, myself, many of us are questioning nearly everything in our lives. Our relationships, work, priorities, and our lives in general.

We are also, frequently, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the pandemic’s disruption which we are only now beginning to let ourselves realize.

Now that I have reviewed all the gloom and doom, what are the hopeful possibilities?

For that, I like to reflect on what a few of you have mentioned. A woman in her 50s despaired of her husband ever “returning” to a life they had lost track of over the years. One session with him woke him out of his emotional and sexual stupor and they are happier than they have ever been.

Has a year of reflection helped you to sort out priorities and options?

Another man realized that, between his spouse and four sons, he was basically the “single father of five,” one of whom was never going to grow into a responsible adult. Tough decisions lay ahead, but at least he was relieved to understand that he wasn’t crazy, no matter the gaslighting.

Yes, the realizations go on and on and I’m sure every one of you could supply what insights the past year has provided you – welcome as well as unwelcome.

Perhaps the most general help I can offer is the suggestion that you adjust slowly and with due consideration. Consider your options (as I always advise, everyone always needs to know where they stand legally, financially and medically if they are going to make any informed decisions whatsoever!) Look back at your pre-Covid life and note what you DO NOT want to go back to and how to avoid shuffling back to old habits, routines, and discontents.

I always advise looking at the various aspects of our lives in a compartmentalized manner. To that end, I am asking Tanya, the webmaster who has formatted and prepped these Newsletters for as long as there have been Newsletters, to attach our Goal Setting Handout for your consideration.

Print it out and take a week to contemplate and scribble notes. If you have a spouse/partner/significant other with whom you are still on speaking terms – or maybe especially if you aren’t talking – ask them to complete one too, then compare answers as a way to begin a dialogue as to how to create a new and better cooperative relationship out of the muddle the past 16 months have left us all in.

Yes, we can help with the process if you want some coaching or suggestions. You do have more options than you’re aware of. Don’t let your own habitual thinking rob you of unperceived possibilities.

Download the Goal Setting Handout