Recently, I saw a picture going around Facebook that made me both sad and angry. Above a shelf filled with wine, there was a poster on which the words “Homeschooling Supplies” were printed. The picture was sent out with laughing emojis, it was considered so hilarious, but when it got to recovery groups people got upset.
It is no secret that drinking has increased since the lockdown and it’s possible that many people who never had a problem developed some dependence on booze—after all reaching for that glass of wine was probably the easiest way for many people to relax after a stressful day of Zoom meetings and homeschooling. But calling wine a “homeschooling supply” is just plain wrong. It normalizes a situation that is not normal.
I think I have a pretty good sense of humor. I do get the joke, but I think it’s lame. I think that money would be better spent on posters that direct people, who might be worried about their drinking, to phone numbers or places where they could get help. After all, it is the liquor store where you meet the biggest congregation of people with substance use disorder. Why not use that space to do some good and plant the seed of recovery that way. Sure, it might make a few hard-core party people miffed to have their fun classified as something pathological, but it’s not like it’s going to deter them from getting smashed if they want to.
A woman I know used to notice a poster of a pregnant woman with a warning about dangers of drinking while carrying a child. She said it was curious that we’re so obsessed with making sure future moms don’t consume alcohol, yet we have no problem marketing it toward youth who are perhaps most susceptible to developing addiction. They are young, they are on their own for the first time and mom is not watching! And now after the lockdown it’s the overworked, stressed parents that seem to be the target of alcohol manufacturers. I would hate to see day drinking or drinking around children as some kind of a new trend just because the liquor store and vodka say it’s okay.
I have no business stepping inside those stores, but I urge those who do, to not believe the hype—all that flash and humor and cleverness only masks the fact that the substance they’re pushing on to us is toxic, dangerous and in the end not at all conducive to relaxing.
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