Moderate drinking during the pandemic is OK. Here’s how to know if your habit has crossed into the official definition of “excessive.” (Jennifer Bardsley)

Moderate drinking during the pandemic is OK. Here’s how to know if your habit has crossed into the official definition of “excessive.” (Jennifer Bardsley)

Heavy drinking during pandemic sends kids a bad message

Parents drinking to excess may be teaching their children that when the going gets tough, it’s time to hit the bottle.

Children learn from our actions, and right now, some parents across America are teaching their kids that heavy drinking is an appropriate way to deal with stress.

If you’re one of those parents, put down your wineglass and step away from the cocktail shaker. You are better than this.

Sure, if the situation were only temporary, heavy drinking might be considered an appropriate coping mechanism. But this isn’t a sprint — it’s a marathon. When children see you drink excessively every single evening, or even during the daytime, they grow up thinking that such behavior is normal. It’s not.

According to, “high-risk drinking is the consumption of 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week for women and 5 or more drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks per week for men.” High-risk drinking also includes binge drinking, which is the “consumption within about 2 hours of 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men.”

If you and your spouse are going through a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer every night during this pandemic, then you’ve reached the government definition of “excessive drinking,” and it’s not OK.

You might tell yourself it’s OK. Your Facebook friends might post funny memes about surviving the stay-home order with coffee in one hand and vodka in the other, but that doesn’t mean your children deserve to be cared for by an adult with a heavy drinking habit.

It’s not just about the present, either, it’s about the future. Is this the survival skill you want to teach your children? When life becomes unbearably difficult, turn to booze?

Even if they don’t develop future problems with alcohol, you’re putting them at risk for a host of other issues that may require them to seek help from Al-Anon someday; issues like fearing criticism, constantly needing approval, difficulty with relationships and feeling responsible for the actions of others.

Let’s talk about money, too, because we’re facing Great Depression levels of unemployment. Is spending excessive funds on alcohol a good idea? Which choice will make your family safer: having extra cash in the bank, or having empty bottles in the recycling bin?

If money’s not a problem, think about all of the other stress-management tools an extra $30 to $50 per week could purchase. That quickly adds up to $1,050 to $2,600 a year, which is enough money to buy an online fitness membership and a massage chair.

Go for a walk. Brew a cup of tea. Take a hot shower. Pet your dog. Lock yourself in the coat closet with a flashlight and read a paperback novel. Call your friend. Watch TV. If you’ve tried all those things and still feel that liquor is the answer, it may be time to seek professional help.

COVID-19 had taken important things from all of us, but don’t let sobriety be one of them.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at

Talk to us

More in Life

Veteran Keith F. Reyes, 64, gets his monthly pedicure at Nail Flare on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Stanwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures

Keith Reyes, 64, visits a Stanwood nail salon for “foot treatments” that help soothe blast injuries.

Eggs Florentine
Baked Eggs Florentine: A brunch favorite inspired by a queen

The kitchen manager at Quil Ceda Creek Casino shares a dish that pays homage to a spinach-crazy 16th century monarch.

Jennifer Bardsley, author of her newest book Good Catch, at her home on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds author transitions from young adult novels to romance

Jennifer Bardsley’s “Good Catch” is set in an Edmonds-like town. Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

Caption: They might be too old for lunch box notes, but teenagers benefit from TLC too.
Fun ways to show the teens in your life that you care

The teen years can be challenging but they don’t last long. A little bit of extra attention can go a long way.

This easy-to-make spinach and mushroom quiche is perfect for a light dinner or fancy brunch. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Gretchen’s table: A spinach-mushroom quiche with cheesy goodness

The savory egg custard baked in a pie crust is easy to make — especially if you use a refrigerated crust.

Nissan’s signature V-motion grille dominates the 2022 Pathfinder’s front. Look closely and you’ll see three slots at the top, a tribute to the original 1986 Pathfinder. (Manufacturer photo)
Nissan Pathfinder comes full circle with all-new 2022 version

The three-row mid-size SUV gains modern amenities but returns to the rugged impression of the original.

Jack Rice, left, gives his grandmother Carolyn Rice, a tutorial on her new tablet Saturday afternoon in Edmonds on November 20, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need to Ring or Zoom? Edmonds teen comes to the rescue

Jack Rice, 17, started a free service to help seniors connect with tech. “He’s a hero around here.”

Herr Jung leads a group through Bacharach, Germany.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Lessons from a schoolmaster on the Rhine

Herr Jung dedicated his life to sharing Germany’s hard history so others can learn from it.

How to transform past shame into something positive and healthy

Tips on coping with the shame that we carry around in our hearts and on our sleeves.

Header, garden shovel or spade puts into soil, green meadow in the back, low angle shot
Regenerative gardening helps save the planet one garden at a time

Regenerative gardening is founded on the principle that if we take care of our soils then everything else will work out for the best.

She canceled her Iceland trip in time. Where’s her refund?

When Kim Josund cancels her trip to Iceland, she believes she’s entitled to a full refund. Why are her hotel and dive operator refusing?

Great Plant Pick: Acer tegmentosum “Joe Witt”

This Manchurian snakebark maple boasts beautiful highly striped white bark that brightens the shade garden.