Ask Delissa! Alcohol, Covid stress and its impact on my marriage

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Ask Delissa! Alcohol, Covid stress and its impact on my marriage

Our agony aunt DELISSA NEEDHAM answers your questions. This week: drinking during lockdown

Love (Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash)
Love (Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash)

Dear Delissa

Since the lockdown I’ve been drinking too much. I can’t seem to stop.  I know I’m ruining my marriage but that doesn’t stop me either.

My husband and I met at a Shabbat social event five years ago and our marriage is a good one. So why am I doing this? My husband doesn’t drink much and never has but I drink a bottle of wine a day sometimes.  He says I am not good company when I drink because I get angry with him and then if I’m honest I’m actually also bad-tempered next day.

I keep trying to cut back but every time I stop drinking, I get so depressed. I work from home now all the time and although I’m happy not to commute any more I miss my work colleagues.

I enjoyed my office life and the social events that came with it.  Now I’m putting on weight and am nearly two stone heavier than I was last March so I feel less attractive which makes me feel even worse.

I have to stop this but I can’t seem to.

I don’t know if I’m just a weak person or if I am an alcoholic with a serious problem.

Isabel – Highgate

Delissa Needham

Dear Isabel

I’m so sorry to read all this. Lockdown did put a lot of pressure onto relationships and the world we’re in at the moment seems so bleak that it’s enough to drive anyone to a glass of vino. But that’s not where the answer lies. As you realise. It only makes you feel worse but knowing that doesn’t making it any easier to stop. Nor will it help if I tell you how you drinking too much is affecting your health.

Although I’m jolly well going to (it’s my column after all). So here just to remind you is the downside of drinking. The weight you have gained is unhealthy and alcohol consumption as you probably know puts you into a higher risk category for life threatening diseases. Just three alcoholic drinks a week increases your chance of breast cancer by 15%.

But of course telling you that will have as much impact on your decision making as your mother had when telling you not to date bad boys.  It might be more useful if I remind you that that alcohol is a very strong drug.  Its the most harmful drug and oddly the most socially acceptable.

Isn’t that weird. It’s the most dangerous drug worldwide and yet it’s the one everybody pushes on you, and then society makes you feel like an odd one out if you dare to say ‘no thanks’.

I’m going to hazard a guess Isabel but I would think that a glass of wine is something you associate with the fun times at work – and indeed ‘a good time’ throughout your life.  It is likely that you have lots of lovely images and recollections associated with a glass of wine ingrained in your sub-conscious and placed there over many years.

Having more than one in lockdown is a comforting way to revisit those good times, it’s also a result of boredom and a wish to anaesthetise against the world. And now we’re able to socialise a little bit more and go out more you suddenly find you are stuck with a habit you can’t stop, Your body is used to the sugar level and you are caught in the grip of a powerful drug to which your body has also become acclimatised.

While your conscious mind will decide to stop drinking it will eventually give in to your sub-conscious mind and its associations of the fun attached to a drink.  Think about that battle between your sub-conscious and your conscious mind next time you reach for a drink.  Your sub-conscious will tell you a glass of wine will make you feel better and your conscious mind will tell you it won’t.  That’s a big battle to win.

So to give you some practical help I hugely recommend that you read a book called The Naked Mind by Annie Grace. It will give you the knowledge to understand and win that battle. To help you lose weight there is a wonderful naturopath who you can make an appointment with on-line called Elizabeth Gibaud.

Elizabeth is the best recommendation I could ever give you.  I have worked in television with a lot of experts and she is the best I’ve come across. Very strict but gets results.   Also of course there is bound to be a local AA meeting somewhere you can join but also since you mentioned how you met your husband it would seem you are very much a part of your community,  in which case I’m sure you will find support there too.    I really hope this all helps.

You can contact Elizabeth Gibaud for weight loss help or speak to Delissa for dating and relationships coaching via




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