Blip, slip, relapse; I don’t mind what you call it. Please don’t use language that makes you feel like shit.
It doesn’t matter what your drug of choice is: alcohol, cocaine, crappy food (although not a drug, people do use it in a similar way). When life changes, even subtly, its super easy to find ourselves reaching for our old favourite to cope, to comfort us, to escape, to fill time, because well, whats the point?
I am going to talk about lockdown in England specifically, although I am sure the psychology of it is similar in other countries.
For most of us, in some way (to different degrees), the rug has been pulled out from under us.
Now this isn’t about moaning or being entitled, this is a fact.
It doesn’t have to be a massive problem, most of us know that what we are experiencing are first world problems and we know that we are lucky.
That’s not the point.
I haven't relapsed, but I understand how it can happen. The slightest change can take us by surprise.
Holidays have been cancelled, along with weddings, celebrations, family meet ups, all things we have been looking forward to. Money has been lost. Maybe losing the money is a big issue for you.
Our routines have changed. It doesn’t matter if we didn’t like our routine, even if we felt like we were a slave to it. Most people do well with routine, structure and purpose. Some of us left to our own devices have not been able to put a simple routine in place to support ourselves.
Some of us have struggled to be creative in terms of looking at how we replicate what was working for us, to how we are living now.
Loss of connection and human interaction. Living with family members and conflicts.
Loss of income and all the worries that come with that. Loss of jobs, future plans.
Then with all of this comes uncertainty; what is happening, what will happen?
We are not in control, we are powerless.
Loss of freedom, or what can feel like that.
So I can hear some of you saying, so Fucking what, suck it up. I get it and I agree on one level, I do. But that doesn’t mean I cant see what is happening for some people out there.
Now good news is, you can learn from this.
If you are in a relapse, please get some help, you are just delaying the inevitable. Reach out. If you don’t know where to get help have a read of this. the-essential-guide-to-getting-help-with-your-alcohol-and-drug-use
Like any relapse, get yourself back on track, give it a couple of days, then have a little think. What happened? What was going on for me? What was missing? What was I not paying attention to? What can I do to look after myself?
This is good practice anyway, after any relapse. But don’t think for one minute you can say, "oh yes but it’s the lockdown, this wont happen again, this is an unusual situation". Yes it is, but we can still learn from it. What ever it is that caused you to relapse, do the work. You will be stronger for it.
Remember, this is an inside job.
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