Recently an acquaintance mentioned that she and her partner started working out in the afternoons because around 3 o’clock they found themselves thinking about cocktails… on a daily basis. To their credit, they identified the rut that they were being pulled into and quickly turned it around.

They’re not the only ones flirting with the alcohol vortex. In fact, alongside COVID, there could be another epidemic – that of drinking… drinking to unwind; to cope with stress and anxiety.

One home spirits delivery company, Drizly – the Grubhub of alcohol, reports sales up 350% when compared to pre-COVID home isolation.

Most of the talk is about how unhealthy too much alcohol is for you. 

The World Health Organization reports that alcohol contributes to more than 200 diseases like liver cirrhosis and cancers plus all the injuries that being drunk causes.

But as a person who specializes in difficult emotions, what comes up for me is all the trauma that drunk behavior lays on others. People share with me disturbing memories of alcoholic family members and their abusive and/or negligent behavior and how it’s tethered to the difficult emotions they now struggle with.

As adults, people reel out of control for years – decades – with patterns that undermine their personal and professional relationships because of these alcohol-drenched childhood environments. Personally, I grew up with caregivers who were trying to numb their pain with alcohol; it was an angry, volatile and dangerous home life.

Cannabis as an alternative

There’s this saying – and I don’t remember it exactly word for word (help me out here if you remember it) … but here’s the gist:

Never, ever, anywhere at any time has a person high on cannabis beaten their spouse.

The point being is that cannabis doesn’t beckon the shadow side of people the way alcohol does. In fact, most frequently, it calls forth our better angels – evoking sounder judgment and sensibilities. For sure, people can get stoned or baked with cannabis – such is the stoner culture of numbing out. And certainly that can become an issue if there are children in the house.

But would one be better off with a stoner in the house or a raging alcoholic in the house? 

Young adults have shared with me the negligence of parents or caregivers who were stoned all the time – and as kids they suffered the consequences of not getting enough time and attention, which certainly can be trauma-inducing in itself.

But given the side-by-side comparisons of the implications of alcohol and those of cannabis, I’d suggest that the latter would be a safer way to cope with stress and anxiety during this COVID catastrophe.

Now, I’m not recommending the over-consumption of cannabis to the point of numbing. But in the pecking order of dependence and addiction, alcohol is one of the most addictive substances and cannabis is one of the lowest (right there with caffeine).

What’s your take on this situation? How’s it going for you? What’s been your experience?