Even with a good period of sobriety under out belts, lockdown took us both by surprise and all of a sudden, we had to dig really deep for new coping strategies. Prior to quitting drinking, both of us would have definitely used that nightly glass of wine to take the edge off the stress of normality changing. We have had more people join our Sober Experiment – taking a break from alcohol due to growing concern about their own drinking habits, seen an increase in the number of people requiring coaching; and these people are professionals, with jobs to return to, families to look after and no means of support at this difficult time. We have also seen images of people “panic buying” alcohol since lockdown started in March 2020. With all this in mind, we became increasingly concerned about how other normal drinkers were coping with their alcohol consumption.
Our recent Alcohol Survey Data found that almost 36% of people have increased their alcohol consumption since the UK went into lockdown. People gave reasons such as: “it helps me with stress, it helps me get to sleep, it reduces my anxiety, I feel I deserve a drink after a hard day working from home or looking after the kids, I’m bored” and these didn’t necessarily come from problematic drinkers, but from people who, prior to lockdown, had their alcohol consumption under control. With disrupted routines came distorted and amended rules about the quantities people could consume and the time of day it was reasonable to start their wine O’clock. With bars and restaurants closed, Zoom happy hours started to replace the social aspect of working life. #quarantini trended over Twitter and Instagram and people started to normalise comments such as “I had wine with my breakfast today” or “Mummy’s home school serves wine”.
In a recent Drinkaware study, 1 in 10 furloughed drinkers said they’d had a drink in secret or covered up the fact they were consuming alcohol since lockdown began. This was almost double both the UK average and the number of those working from home reporting this. Employers must now use every opportunity to talk to their workforce about alcohol and must plan for a return to work that prioritises employee health and well-being. The consequence of not doing this could result in thousands of people returning to work with ingrained drinking habits that could have an impact on their health – both physical and mental and we are already seeing this in the news.
Headlines such as “I became an Alcoholic during lockdown” and “Charities warn of alcohol problems increasing during lockdown” are two of the most recent articles published by the BBC News. We believe this is only the tip of the iceberg with more and more professionals drinking more frequently, starting earlier in the day and drinking much larger quantities during lockdown than ever before.
A press release by Alcohol Change will provide more information here.
Through delivering an interactive presentation about how we overcame our own alcohol dependencies to live a healthier lifestyle, have improved mental health and well being and develop healthy stress-management strategies, Alex and Lisa will help your team to reset their drinking habits, for up to 12 months. Our relatable, inspiring and brutally honest presentation will inspire and engage your people leaving them excited to give our 30-day experiment a go as a team, for charity. The session is neither judgmental nor preachy and we can actively encourage your employees to make better choices about their drinking and engage them in our employee assistance programme and 30-day supported sobriety experiment as a team – helping you create a healthier, happier and more productive workforce.
Above everything else, we just love what we do. Sharing our story motivates and inspires others to try our experiment and helps them to change their relationship with alcohol, often for good. As you will see from our data, almost 40% of people would not share concerns about their own or a colleague’s drinking at work, which means they are left feeling stigmatised and alone with a dependency that is simply classed as normal drinking by those around them. This recent email is one of many we have received during lockdown (we have kept this anonymous for obvious reasons) and is one of the main reasons we continue to raise awareness around this subject.