Driven to Drink

It feels a bit like the ’80s, but with a twist.

Back then, we left our desks to meet for lunch over martinis and cocktails. Today, millions of Americans are drinking at their desks during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to multiple worker surveys.

About 42% of nearly 13,000 workers were drinking while working from home, according to survey results released April 20 by Fishbowl, a career social network. Online sales of alcohol rose 243% during the third week of March before many shelter-in-place restrictions took effect, according to research firm Nielsen. In my own neighborhood, I have never witnessed so many cars lined up at the drive-through liquor store.

COVID-19 is taking a toll on our sobriety and sanity
I can’t fault anyone for wanting to drink. The difference between then and now is why we’re drinking. I fondly remember joining marketing colleagues in the ‘80s for drinks over lunch to celebrate a “win” or successful quarter. Nowadays, we’re drinking because we fear we may join another 4.4 million Americans who filed for unemployment benefits last week.

I confess I’ve refrained from overindulging in alcohol since I wrote a New Year’s eve newspaper article about drinking and driving. I was the guinea pig who volunteered to drink excessive amounts of booze. After each glass of Southern Comfort and Coke, a Maryland state trooper gave me a field sobriety test, including a breathalyzer. Needless to say, someone had to drive me home and hold my hair from my face as I knelt to worship the porcelain goddess.

Each of us needs to find our own coping mechanism
These days, I meet public relations colleagues for virtual happy hours and morale-boosting sessions. Someday, we’ll treat each other to a martini or cocktail at one of our favorite restaurants as we celebrate the end of COVID-19.

Disclaimer: Please know this article is not meant to disparage anyone who struggles with sobriety. I know this is an especially trying time.

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