Lockdown alcohol

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Lockdown latest: The best way to cope without alcohol

Millions of citizens have been forced to give up something they love. But if you need to learn how to cope without alcohol during lockdown, this may help.

Lockdown alcohol

Image via Adobe Stock

Thanks to what can only be described as “top-notch shithousing” by the government, South Africans won’t be able to buy alcohol until Friday 1 May at the earliest, some five weeks after the prohibition law was introduced. The lockdown – extended by a further two weeks – has left drinkers high and dry.

What has been banned during South Africa’s lockdown?

We get it, there are benefits to giving up the good stuff. But it’s just a little unsettling how anti-booze merchants like Bheki Cele have seen this uncertain time as an opportunity to push through an entirely different agenda. We blame it on his whiskey getting nicked a few years ago.

You can add boozing to the list of things the police department have outlawed while a full lockdown remains in place: Jogging, dog-walking, visiting friends or family and all recreational trips have been forbidden. Truly, Bheki Cele could give the mayor in that town from Footloose a run for his money.

But, with a looming threat stalking us at every corner, we accept the cards we’ve been dealt with. There is a bigger picture, with much more at stake. So we’re going to turn our attention to some advice issued by Dr Lize Weich, who is the convenor of the Substance Abuse Special Interest Group of the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP). You wanted an expert, we got one…

The best way to view life without alcohol

Weich puts things into perspective, without falling into the trap of demonising drinkers in the same way several politicians have done. You can catch more barflies with honey, after all…

According to the doctor, the best way to look at our alcohol-free reality is to accept that ‘day zero’ – a time where we can no longer get access to any alcohol – is already here. Then, the trick is to focus solely on the positives: That beer-belly is guaranteed to come down, and your bank balance will be the first to say ‘thank you’.

“It could help to mentally prepare for ‘day zero’, by cutting down on your daily consumption to make stocks last and seeing the situation positively. There’s much to be gained from an alcohol-free few weeks: Fewer calories consumed to compensate for not being able to exercise, saving money, and improving one’s health” .

Lize Weich

Lockdown: No alcohol? No problem…

Weich has also recommended a list of activities to keep your mind off the ale for the time being. This could be the ideal time to try something new, it’s reasoned. Some of the more popular distractions include:

  • Meditation and mindfulness.
  • Home-based exercise.
  • Healthy distractions like starting new hobbies or reading.
  • Devote drinking time towards learning a new skill.
  • Draw on the wealth of online resources for how-to and self-help guidance.
  • However, anyone experiencing increased anxiety, difficulty sleeping, physical symptoms like tremors, headaches, sweating or nausea is encouraged to contact a medical professional.

The change could do us good. And absence makes the heart grow fonder. The longer this goes on, the sweeter that first sip of an ice-cold beer will taste. Never will any of us take that can of Black Label at the back of the fridge for granted ever again. All is forgiven…

Alcohol can impair in our immune systems, and while we’re trying to ride out any potential spike in infections, it’s probably wise we all put our tankards down for the time being. After all, there’s not much to celebrate right now – save it for the day we can all meet again.