Shopping For "Essentials"

Billy Boulden


Anybody else feel like this ‘quarantine” (I know that is not the correct term, but what are we doing really?) is exposing themselves?


I’ve known for a long time that I have an addictive personality. This has caused me pain and happiness over the years:


  • I’ve been to the casino and lost several hundred dollars of cash. I’ve then gone to the ATM, taken some more cash out and headed to the roulette table to win it all back.

  • If you give me a bag of sour patch kids, you can expect me to eat the whole bag in one sitting.

  • I will grind it out in the gym all morning and when I’m on the way to car after a hard workout receive a text from my buddy that says “BRO, wanna lift?” Ill change into an extra shirt and head back into the gym like I never even worked out that morning.

  • I get verbally and physically mad at Netflix at 3am when I am on my 12th episode and Netflix has the audacity to ask me if I am still watching.


I try to manage this.


I don’t keep ice cream in the house because I believe any container of ice cream is a single serving. I don’t use recreational drugs including tobacco because I know if I start I won’t be able stop.


I have found myself more engaged in social activities the last several weeks than normal. Maybe it’s because my friends are scattered all across the country and we are all bored AF and have nothing else to do. Maybe it is because we realize that virtual allows us access to people we did think about before. I don’t know.


What I do know is that last week I found myself leaving the house to grab the essentials. As I was checking out at the grocery store I realized my cart included the following:


· 12 of white claw

· 6 bottles of wine (4 red, 2 white)

· 6 pack of peanut butter porter

· 12 pack of a local IPA

· 6 pack of local cider that is made with cherries

· A bottle of white rum

· A bottle of gin

· 2 bottles of tequila

· 6 pack of 2 ply toilet paper because apparently you have to wait in line for a week to get Charmin


What was I doing?


I get it. I’m old. It would normally take me six months to drink all this, but I found myself caught in addiction. An addiction to Zoom hangouts, brunch, and drinks.


It is so easy to lose ourselves or forget about our friends who struggle during this time. We are focused on connecting, we may neglect taking care of ourselves. I recently shared with some folks that self-care doesn’t happen when we get stressed out and then try to take care of ourselves… that is called self-harm.


Self-care is regular, ongoing, intentional decisions that bring out the best in us.

I put the white claw, IPA, gin and tequila back. I should have put back the 2-ply and held out another day.


Addiction is driven by a dependency. It is a psychological and physical inability to say no.


The Center on Addiction tells us that 1 in 7 people abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. Perhaps, you struggle as well and need to know that you are not alone. Perhaps, you have friends who have struggle and you have no idea. When we are on campus, it is a little easier to keep an eye on each other and take of the people we hang out with on a regular basis.


Once I sign off our virtual happy hour, you have no idea how long my behavior continues.


Here are some suggestions we can all benefit from:


Continue to hang out with our friends (and make new ones) in virtual spaces.

I found myself playing Chips in Guac on the House Party App last with a group of people I had never met because my friend that invited forgot to charge his phone.


Make rules for yourself. Just like when drinking in person, considering alternating beverages between alcoholic beverages and water.

I found that for every dessert I want to eat, I make myself workout before consuming the dessert. Half the time I don’t even want the dessert anymore. Also, the break between workouts to dessert breaks my urge to jump into another workout or eat another dessert.

Know what you are drinking. It’s important to know what the pour is.

I saw a meme recently that bartenders are fearful for the strength of drink that people are growing accustomed to making for themselves at home. While it was meant as a joke, I believe there is legitimate concern. Bartenders are trained how to properly poor drinks. The goal is for the customer to have a good drink and a good time, but remain safe. When pouring your own drink it is important to measure the amount of you are consuming. Alcohol.org shares some quick stats that could be used as a guide: https://www.alcohol.org/statistics-information/abv/


We can do this. We can take care of ourselves and others during this difficult time. As my Mom said to me many years ago, “don’t forget your home training”. You have many resources to help you be successful.


Just because the circumstances look different, don’t forget all the things you have learned.



Billy Boulden is fueled by caffeine. With a dabble in corporate America and more than ten years experience in higher education, Billy brings a fun, energetic, positive spin to every encounter. He believes that leadership works best when the heart and the mind are on the same team. When not developing a new idea or program, you can find him playing with his two labs, coaching Crossfit classes, or volunteering for his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. Learn more about Billy's signature programs at ForCollegeForLife.com/billy



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