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DEAR HARRIETTE: I hurt myself the other night. I had been drinking rather heavily after having an argument with my husband, and when I stumbled into my room, I fell and hit my shoulder. When I woke up the next morning, I had a good-sized bruise. At first, I didn’t even remember why. I know that sounds terrible, but I was fine. The bruise is still healing, but I fear that I may have a problem. Nothing like this has happened before, but I have increased my drinking a lot in the past year during the pandemic. I don’t necessarily think I am an alcoholic, but I am finding it hard to stop. Advice? — Put Down the Glass
DEAR PUT DOWN THE GLASS: You are not alone. According to a government study reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, nearly two-thirds of the respondents said that their alcohol intake had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as stress, boredom and availability of alcohol were suggested as reasons for this increase. What can you do?
Try again to stop. Make a plan for stopping, and see how far you can get on your own. Consider using this book to support your efforts: “The Alcohol Experiment: A 30-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge to Interrupt Your Habits and Help You Take Control” by Annie Grace. If you can stick to 30 straight days of sobriety, you may be able to clear your head well enough to see if your next steps are to continue or to seek help to support a change in your relationship to alcohol. Know that there is no shame in getting help. From talking to your primary care doctor to going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, help is available. Since your drinking — this time, anyway — seemed to be prompted by emotional distress at home, you should get help sorting through issues in your marriage as well.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working out with a trainer on Zoom for about six months now. It has been great. He understands my unique challenges and abilities and is helping me to get stronger, more balanced and healthier. We were talking the other day, and as he was complimenting me on a task I had mastered, he qualified by saying, “… for an obese woman.” Really? That hurt my feelings. I know that I am overweight. That’s the main reason I started working out with him.
I don’t need my trainer to diss me while we are working out. Do you think I’m being too sensitive? After he said that, I clammed up, but I think I should let him know I didn’t appreciate that. — Be Nice
DEAR BE NICE: That surely was not good bedside manner, so to speak. If you feel confident enough, tell your trainer that his comment hurt your feelings. Whether or not you are obese, that is not what you want to hear as you are working to get healthier. Ask him to be more sensitive in the future. Chances are, he will be embarrassed that he made such a comment. I hope you have the courage to call him on it.
Harriette Cole is a life-stylist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.