Alcohol abuse and addiction is very real in South Africa

The wait for many South Africans is almost over. But nobody considers alcohol abuse a problem.


A sense of victory is building up for those who have had to go without a drink for several weeks due to the national lockdown and banning of alcohol sales across the country. But just what does the reopening of bottle stores and the reselling of alcohol mean to those who are addicted to alcohol, especially in the month of June, which ironically enough is Drug Awareness Month?

alcohol abuse during lockdownLet’s firstly look at the landscape right now. There was acute outrage at the thought and subsequent ruling to ban the sale of alcohol during the higher stages of the Lockdown. Government advisors made the ruling based on alcohol abuse statistics and advice from South African and international experts. The reaction from South Africans: outrage. The desire to purchase alcohol, the right to purchase it, became the talking point across news, online, social media, and radio. Was it fair? Was it right? Did it make sense? The answer is varied in opinion – but there are lessons to be learnt, and now, with us in June and the opening of bottle stores, more observations on alcohol abuse have come out.


South Africa has a drinking problem.

According to alcohol rehabilitation clinics in Gauteng alcohol abuse and addiction is very real and very dangerous in a country battling socio-economic and educational issues like South Africa is. The amount of people who turn to the bottle as a crutch, as a support base and as a way to drown out stress, anxiety, pain and circumstance is high. The resulting addiction stats speak for themselves. Countless crimes, relationships and health issues, money problems and other dire results of alcohol abuse surround our family and friends. During the level 5 lockdown many a doctor could be heard talking about the lack of patients they are seeing who would usually fill their beds with alcohol abuse based injuries. 


A cautionary tale about alcohol abuse must be told.

alcohol abuse beerOf course, now, we see that many a celebration is taking place as those who desire alcohol are getting their wish. Many are social drinkers, many are addicts who are not aware of their addiction yet, some are functioning alcoholics and some are just wanting a glass of wine to get on with their Friday night at home chill out sessions. The very fact that thousands of people are expected to queue up in liquor stores to fill up their booze cabinets at home means that statistically speaking, there will be a number of people who are either recovering, working through recovery or about to undergo alcohol addiction rehabilitation who will see or be around those people, and their cabinets. Take into consideration the advertising, word of mouth, social media, all triggers and dangerous signs that a person recovering from alcohol abuse may not be able to avoid. 


So here’s some advice on Alcohol Abuse

Tips to be mindful in June and the avalibility of alcohol in South Africa.

  • Avoid the sharing of memes and alcohol-related social media celebrating the reopening. You know it’s happening, but why promote it to friends and family who may not want/need to see these triggers?
  • When an advert comes on and you know someone with you is going through the process of post addiction recovery, chat with them about something else, try and remove their lingering thoughts about alcohol and this prospect of alcohol sales on Monday being a goal.
  • Phone those friends and family members you know who have alcohol abuse tendencies and  have gone through addiction treatment, chat with them about something else that is happening now, next week or soon. The launched Space X space flight, for example, is a good start. The absolute peak of human achievement was made this year, celebrate the things that are achievable when goals and effort is made. 
  • Check yourself. Ask yourself if the lust and desire you are feeling towards 1 June is normal. Is it okay to be this excited about alcohol sales? Are you in control of your body or has alcohol made a mark in your life?

    This is a hard one but you need to hear it… Wait.

     

    Don’t go immediately to the bottle store if you must go and ‘fill up.’ Here are two reasons to consider why:

  • The obvious health issues around Covid-19 means that big gatherings are not advised (or legal) and you don’t want to put your life at risk for alcohol. Or do you?
  • By waiting for a day, you can tell how addicted or how big your alcohol abuse desire is. It is a good gauge. Cannot wait to hit the store?alcohol abuse spirits addiction Why is one day so important?
    Judging by your own reading of your own body, you can quickly see if maybe, just maybe, June 1 is more than just the opening of bottle stores, it’s the opening of your mind to the fact that alcohol addiction is very real, very dangerous and is cloaked by the fact that it is a legal drug.

Be safe out there.

 

 


For more information on dealing with alcohol or  alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

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