The past 15+ months have been a challenge. After a nice break in the spring and summer, COVID once again dominates the local news cycle. Cases rising, Linn and Black Hawk counties suggest masking again, vaccine mandates, delta variant, on and on.

That said, it seems we at least have a better understanding of COVID-19 now, as opposed to say, last summer. But one aspect of the pandemic that has not been discussed as much, our relationship with alcohol during the darkest days of COVID.

Iowans drank a lot more during COVID

The website American Addiction Centers crunched some numbers (and beer cans?) and determined 422,000 Iowans drank alcohol before midday (lunchtime) during the heart of the pandemic. Now, while this is certainly not a competition, Iowans, according to this study, actually dranks far less before midday than most other states. Minnesota had nearly double Iowa's number (829,032 Minnesotans had a drink during that time frame), for example.

Still, focusing on Iowa, 422,000 enjoying a midday drink indicates many of us who worked from home during COVID has some wine, beer, or stronger yet during the workday.

Photo by Andreas M on Unsplash

Beers for breakfast?

I certainly have been blessed, I have worked, from an office, each day since COVID began. As a big fan of an occasional spirit, it would have been hard on some of those days to resist a lunch margarita. Many did not.

The data from the American Addiction Centers data shows that in Iowa, we enjoyed more drinks... and earlier in the day:

  • Since the pandemic began, 15% of Iowans said they’re more likely to start drinking earlier in the day.
  • Unfortunately, only 39% of people say they would be open and honest about their pre-midday drinking habits.
  • 15% admit they look forward to special occasions as an excuse to drink alcohol earlier in the day.

As always, it's important to use moderation with alcohol. Even if increased alcohol has somehow had zero impact on your work and personal life, it will impact your health. Also, drinking alone in the middle of the day sounds miserable (unless you're on a self-care vacation, of course). There are options for treatment and help.

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