The final straw

By Audrey SomnardAnouk Flesch Switch to French for original article

With the horeca sector at half-mast, alcohol consumption could have fallen. Instead, the opposite happened. Alcohol addicts are flocking to hospitals to fight an addiction they lost control of during the pandemic.

It was with the first lockdown that Marc really became aware of his problems with alcohol. As a professional in the hotel and catering industry, his alcohol consumption was at first festive, but over the years Marc has been drinking more and more often alone at home. "Because of my job, I am in constant contact with alcohol, and I started drinking after work. I was only waiting for one thing: to go home to drink. Then I finally got up in the morning and started drinking, just to stop the shakes", he says. From one to two glasses, he increased his consumption over time, reaching 5 to 6 litres a day of beer during the lockdown. At home, alcohol took control: "When I went out, I could drink three to four bottles of Champagne in the same evening", which ended up ruining his budget, "some months were difficult because of my alcohol consumption".

"I used to go and get cartons of beer at the petrol station near my house, the salesman knew me by heart", Marc says while he no longer drives because he doesn't have a licence anymore: "I lost my licence, my car, and have court fees which cost me a lot". Finally, he found the strength to ask for help himself: "I made an appointment at the Zitha clinic, which I got about two weeks later, in May." He was put on sick leave, but at first he started his drug therapy while consuming alcohol, a bad cocktail. Eventually he was hospitalised for 10 days with a medication discontinuation, a difficult time to get the alcohol out of his system. But Marc was determined and decided to follow up with a treatment at the Useldange Therapeutic Centre (CTU), which specialises in treating alcoholics. He stayed there for six months. "I could have stayed there for only three months, but I didn't feel ready to go home. The first ten days were intense, but it was easier with the medication, which was reduced little by little."

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