Monday, April 20, 2020


Local liquor stores are pushing out delivery after delivery each day. Restaurants are now permitted to sell you drinks with your dinner. Jokes appear online about the perfect quarantine cocktail, or at what time each day it is appropriate for Mom to switch from coffee to wine.

How about you? Are you quarantining with or without?

For me, it’s without. I don’t drink at home. It’s a “going out”, special occasion thing. I don’t judge anyone else, and some of those creative libations look mighty good, really. But it’s just not my thing.

The sale of liquor generates tax money for the state, which must be helpful in a time like this. And, for restaurants, the ability to sell alcohol for pickup/delivery is a lifeline, because that is where most of the money is made. On the drinks. It almost feels as though one is supporting the community by drinking.

And yet.

Drinking alcohol isn’t for everyone. And the prettiness of fancy drinks and artfully designed bottles by local distillers hides another, grimmer world of the daily purchases of whatever is affordable that feed the habit of those addicted to alcohol. It’s ugly, it’s relentless, and most of the time, it’s what keeps liquor stores in business.

I’ve heard some people say that liquor stores aren’t essential and should be closed down for the duration. On its face it seems pretty reasonable. Of course, it might not feel that way to you. Savoring that special drink may be a part of a host of things you are doing to make the best of a hard time. Some may look at it as a quality of life issue.

But for serious addicts the closure of liquor stores is a life or death issue. Severe alcohol withdrawal can mean tremors, delirium, and seizures. It can mean death.

It’s a tricky topic for me, this Quarantine Happy Hour thing. Seeing my friends online enjoy toasting one another makes me smile. Knowing how important the sale of liquor is to the local economy makes me think. Wondering if this time of isolation will push more folks into addiction as they use alcohol to self-medicate makes me sad.

It’s not a simple thing.

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