The Dubious Message in Gov. Cuomo Declaring Liquor Stores Essential Businesses

The Dubious Message in Gov. Cuomo Declaring Liquor Stores Essential Businesses March 24, 2020

I belong to a group of people who receive a daily briefing email from Gov. Cuomo of New York. Here is a small part of his statement from this morning: “Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, liquor stores and other essential businesses will remain open…”

Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, once referred to anger as a “dubious luxury of normal people.” Play around with anger, he seemed to insinuate, and you play around with fire. Anger, apparently, can be a trigger of relapse for people in recovery.

But anger is “dubious” in and of itself in that even “normal” people can be “under the influence” of it. Ever heard of drunk driving? Ever heard of road rage?

I guess liquor is also a dubious luxury of normal people. But “essential”? What is the message in that? Medicine, food, gas and liquor are essential tools in surviving a global epidemic?

Part of my recovery is remaining clean, sober, mindful and remaining vigilant about the cunning, baffling and powerful seductions of the disease of addiction from which I have been granted a daily reprieve.

But “normal” people who do not self-identify as alcoholic should be forewarned that seeking relief from insomnia, stress, anxiety and fear that the essential business of alcohol consumption can be the beginning of even more troubles. It is understandable that people will feel the urge to “take the edge off” during stressful times. But be careful that the edge you are attempting to take off does not get wider and wider until it is all of you.

They don’t call liquor “spirits” for nothing. But there are healthy, helpful spirits and those less beneficial. Seek guidance and solace in liquor if you wish; but don’t forget that prayer, meditation, contemplation, nature, written devotionals and affirmations, exercise and other disciplines are even more plentiful in this global epidemic than liquor stores.

We have more to learn from COVID 19 than we do from liquor. The lessons we learn may be more powerful than the feelings we avoid. This is not my first rodeo. This is not the first disease I have survived. COVID 19 has come and will go. I live, however, with the terminal disease of addiction; meaning that, whether I pick up drugs and alcohol or not ~ I will still live and die with the disease. And yet, it was through addiction that my spirituality was vastly strengthened, and my spiritual course of new life was set. Go figure. It is through our wounds, not our crutches, that we are healed and made whole.

The world may run out of liquor; but the world will never run out of hope.

In closing (for now) the spirit in me bows to the spirit in you. Be well and carry on. I am confident that you, and I, and the world will be better people living in a better place once this epidemic has run its course. The disease of coronavirus is spreading across the world right now; and so is the blessing of recovery.

Peace & Other Blessings,

Dwight Lee Wolter


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