LifeRing Recovery: a self-help alternative for recovery from alcoholism and other chemical dependency. Group support for abstinence from alcohol and “drugs” by empowering the sober self within you. Completely secular: no prayers, Higher Powers or Steps.
The problem is that poorer people have a much harder time sheltering in place. Washington DC is divided into 8 wards. When the epidemic first started, the most cases were in Ward 6 - where I live - a predominately well off ward with many government and congressional staff, and many contractors. People who were out and about a lot. As the pandemic progressed, more and more cases developed in the poorer wards, where people cannot work from home, can't call in to Whole Foods for food deliveries, and can't afford to just stay home. I imagine that is the case in most urban areas.
That middle-class embarrassment or suppressed guilt is part of the problem. Out here the Covid-19 discussions are not ageist (a relief) because so many youngsters have tuberculosis or are HIV+ and their living conditions, food supply or access to clinics or treatment programmes plays a major role in whether they live or die. Addiction is a huge problem, as elsewhere, since we have meths labs and drug sales rampant in schools and campuses, gang violence is an ongoing problem, as is starvation.
What we do here is talk about treatment literacy -- and this is done is Venezuela, Brazil, India, Pakistan and certain countries (Vietnam) in Asia as well -- an educational approach to hep increase awareness of what is needed, what happens if you do get ill with Covid-19, how to get help. what to do to protect yourself and others, how to develop self-care in very harsh environments. Of course this should be happening in Britain and the United States too -- news interviews and social media posts reveal so clearly how many people (and not just from poor backgrounds) think it can't happen to them or don't understand how the contagion works or why a history of heavy smoking, drinking, drug use, obesity, chest ailments or HIV+ makes them especially vulnerable to dying from Covid-19.
And I must admit that the bans of alcohol and tobacco sales may be illiberal and problematic but the health and social benefits have been immediately evident. In emergency casualty, the biggest problem at night and over weekends or public holidays has been injuries and crises that are alcohol-related. Our major hospitals recorded an average of 9 000 fewer trauma admissions at weekends after the ban on alcohol. That is enormous and police holding cells and prisons claimed the same effect -- no drunken behaviour arrests, far fewer reports of domestic violence related to binge-drinking. Online recovery rehab networks and smoking cessation support groups are doing very well here although I've heard AA doesn't do well in face-to-face informal online Zoom counselling or when anonymity has to be dropped.
Of course many people are busy making toxic homebrews but the fact remains that nobody can buy alcohol or even purchase black market cigarettes because of the curfews and heavy fines. And everyone is noticing the difference.
Stay safe everyone!
Many of the craft distilleries and breweries here are making hand sanitizer, which has been in short supply because of hoarding. Alcohol sales are still allowed, but because bars and restaurants are closed, demand is down.
Yes, we have full production going with hand sanitisers from alcohol producers as well as masks. And trials of the long-term effects of BCG vaccines given to most people here as children. As well as trails on some herbal extraction that has apparently worked well in Madagascar, from a rare variety of Artemisia.
This week regulations have been relaxed to allow exercise so people are out walking, cycling and running at 6am in the frosty dawn.
Stay safe my friend
Checking in to say hi. The Uk has really stuffed up its handling of the pandemic- it becomes more and more obvious with every day that passes. The latest slight relaxation of the lockdown has caused a lot of confusion.
I'm feeling ok. We have been working on the garden and forwarding plans for the house build, which I'm feeling rather more positive about. It's the hottest day of the year here today and I was out earlyish to walk the dog. I am being furloughed from my little job now- no one knows when we will be able to do weddings again, and when we are it is likely that they will be very restricted in numbers so many people are likely to postpone if they want even a moderately sized event.
With permission given now to drive to another locale for exercise, I went to see my son for a socially distanced walk in his local park- Sheffield Botanical Gardens which are really gorgeous. It was all ok until I realised that I needed a wee! All public toilets are closed and you are not supposed to go in anyone else's house, but I had to, with great consternation at his typical student gaff with no soap in the loo...washed my hands as thoroughly as I could and ended up drying them on the dog when I got outside again. The need to stay local was illustrated perfectly by this incident, but I was so so happy just to say hi to him and none of us have come down with the lurgy (as yet) I'm certainly hoping that husband and daughter at least will have some immunity.
Hope all is as well as can be expected with you all, stay safe.
The uses of a dog! Good to hear you're doing so well, E, and that you get to see family on walks. We're still in strict lockdown here and as cases surge we may not see any easing of restrictions for a while.
I'm enjoying early morning walks, but feeling a bit claustrophobic as we reach Day 56, no chance to get out and drive anywhere, very basic groceries, a dry cold autumn and I'm over the flu but feel tired all the time. My energy for inventive recipes has flagged and the work I have on my desk is going well but slowly. I have lurid Covid-19 related dreams most nights about hospitals and funerals, but that's just the usual.
Take care everyone
We here is the US haven't done too well either, at least Boris hasn't suggested drinking bleach.
Things are opening up somewhat here. The infection rate has leveled off and is dropping in some places. But the virus will still be around and, as my wife and I are in our 70s, is not clear how much we will be going out - certainly not going to a restaurant any time soon except for take out.
I have been working in my garden, but it has been so cool and wet that I'm not sure I'm going to plant yet. At least in West Virginia, where my nearest neighbor is almost a 1/4 of a mile away, I can move around. Doing lots of chores that get put off when the weather is better.
I just read a book about the 1918 flu. I knew it was bad, but I didn't realize how bad. What was interesting is that after it passed people didn't talk about it much. Histories of WW 1 devote little attention to it and US history books don't cover it well. It's also interesting that I had 13 great aunts and uncles on my mothers side - all born in Louisiana in the late 1800s or early 1900s - and they all lived to be in their 70s - what a turbulent time of history to live through. Most of them never moved far from Louisiana, and most of the men were too young for WW 1 and two old for WW 2, but one was rescued from the Lusitania when it was sunk and one was a nurse at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. Her husband was flown out the day before when he fell out of the back of a Jeep and broke his leg.
Hope everyone is bearing up well.
Gah! Just lost a long message to you! Is there a possibility that your 'flu' was actually Covid? It seems to present in different ways in different people. A protracted period of exhaustion after recovery does seem a very common facet of it though.
None of us will know for sure unless tested though. I'm considering getting an antibody test as I'm still puzzling over why I didn't get it.
Watched a programme on BBC2 last night- a Horizon episode about 80s/90s comedian Tony Slattery. It is terrible to see what alcohol has done to him. He was such a bright, talented and handsome chap back in the day- he is truly ravaged by addiction now. He was exploring the possibility of him being on the bipolar spectrum by visiting various psychiatrists. The frequent chorus it kept returning to was that you won't get anywhere with this whilst you are drinking. It was very sad but very interesting. Things he would obviously like to ascribe to bipolar mood swings were so clearly (to me) alcohol related. He had some underlying issues, that was clear, but he was so trapped in the haze of alcohol that therapy was going to be really difficult. Any therapy really needed to be addressed to tackling the addiction itself. He reminded me a bit of the friend I lost. I didn't feel hopeful for him.
Worth a watch if you can get BBC iPLayer.
I saw a documentary about the Spanish Flu once, yes it was on an unimaginable scale,must have felt like a huge insult added to the injury of WW1.
It is so interesting to delve into family history. One of my grandfathers fought in WW1- he was at one point one of those bicycle riding messengers. He never talked about it. My other grandfather like your rellies was too young for WW1 and too old for WW2. When my husband first trained as a doctor, he would sometimes see very elderly patients who had fought in WW1, some would tell him about it, and he still remembers one man who had lost his best friend, watched him die right in front of him, and he was troubled and distressed by it still, 70 years later. Awful times. And to come back home and lose other people to the flu, I can't imagine.
My other grandfather was a cheeky chappie, from a huge mill-working family in the north, 16th of 17 I think, but he could never remember all their names. He had lots of stories, but he had told my dad that his skull had been fractured in the war. When dad realised he hadn't even fought in the war grandad finally admitted that he had been hit over the head with a clog. Brutal times but in a different way. He wasn't the greatest father, would go awol for long periods and then bowl up again out of the blue, my poor grandmother was pretty long suffering but it didn't make for a happy upbringing for dad. Mum's dad was a staunch catholic, socialist, union man, very devoted to his kids, especially my mum I think, who he supported in getting an education- she became a teacher although she had been offered a university place to read maths, unusual for a woman in the 40s. I got the feeling that was a step too far for her though. Her mother wasn't an easy woman, suffered from agoraphobia, but when you consider she had gone into domestic service aged 12 or 13, it's no great surprise. Youngsters were routinely pushed out into the world at such a tender age back then, it must have been so distressing. I think there were very many undiagnosed mental health issues. So many women in my background seemed to be depressed, embittered or just downright insane! I even had one great aunt who ended up being lobotomised. She had apparently been very bright and had worked as a codebreaker, I have no idea what went wrong. But my mum remembered her behaving like an animal whilst my grandfather tried to contain her wild rages. I feel a screenplay coming on! Gritty period realism
Anyway, already 11.35 here and i must get out with the dog. It's a cooler day so I haven't needed to get out really early.
Keep well and safe
We've moved to a slightly less austere level, still no nicotine sales and restricted alcohol sales, no restaurants or fast food places open, no gyms, no funerals, no travel. Limited work attendance and shopping for basics, essential travel and schools reopening. This last is of huge concern because classes are large, from 65 to 120 students in a class.
Our case rates are increasing but slowly, confirmed infections at 22 500 and deaths at 329, a population of 58-million. I'm hoping we don't get a surge and that hospitals can cope with those needing intensive care. The situation in the UK and USA appalls me. I was watching crowds mingling and celebrating for Memorial Day. No masks, no distancing, old and young all together.
You know, a couple of years ago I read Laura Spinney's Pale Rider, a history of the Spanish Flu and the shocking speed with which it crossed the globe in the aftermath of WWI. One reason so little attention was paid to this highly contagious illness was that people were in shock and traumatised by the war, the hardships around rationing and joblessness. In South Africa, the pandemic arrived by troopships (the steamships with soldiers returning home) and reached the Kimberley diamond fields by steam train within days. 'Black October' of 1918 and the three waves of epidemic killed 300 000 people in South Africa, mostly the poor. Travel by steam was almost as fast as travel by airplanes in 2020 and the reach of the virus was huge.
Your family history is fascinating -- many people were hardly aware they had lived through a pandemic until years later although graveyards right across South Africa show how many young people died. The historian Howard Phillips in South Africa took the figures of a 1911 census and projected those figures and names forward to those who should have been alive in 1921 -- he was shocked to find almost half a million gone. For most South Africans, though, the memory of war was far more pressing and by war they meant the Anglo-Boer war rather than WWI.
Take care, Brian, and keep safe.