It has been over a year and half since I last wrote on this blog and I just don’t know why. Perhaps I have leaned towards our topic of the day, isolation. Honestly the feeling that writing gave me went away for a bit. Then my uncle, the man who taught me so much, my friend passed away. I wanted to write this piece for a while but I just couldn’t figure out how to start it. He always read what I wrote and knowing he wont see this is, well kind of sad. Originally this piece was going to be about how I seem to flock to isolating. It was going to be about how I feel safe and comfortable when I isolate, even though its not what I should be doing. It is not odd that I would enjoy something that is bad for me. For more clarity on that concept scroll down to any of my other posts. Anyway, the whole topic has taken a dramatic left turn and I finally felt the compulsion to write again but now it is for a far different reason.
the virus vs. the disease
Typing “the virus” immediately invokes memories of movies about the end of days. Within the last few weeks we went from making jokes about not touching or being near each other to complete lock down of cities and serious global fear. You know all that. You’re probably home too watching the news, reading articles and on and on. I am of course, as always, interested in talking about the addiction side of this. The irony is that I have always enjoyed isolating and now that we have been forced to isolate and I don’t like it….totally. Tell an alcoholic not to do something and I bet by dinner he will have done 3 times and shoved it in your face that he did it.
Forced isolation is a hell of a good reason to drink or do drugs. Now don’t worry, I am not going to do that. But I worry about those who have the thoughts that creep up inside their mind. These thoughts will tell you that you don’t have a problem. They will tell you that you’re home alone and no one will know. They will downplay your addiction. Then the thoughts will explain to you how you don’t really have a problem. The thing is, if these thoughts are allowed to continue, you will be drunk or messed up by the time the sun sets. Isolation is a dangerous place for us humans, especially when we are forced to do it and even more so, I think, for us alcoholics.
This is a very delicate time for all of us. At first I thought, this message should be for other drunks and drug addicts but honestly, we all need to be vigilant. It is more important than ever to stay in touch. Even if you aren’t an alcoholic or a drug addict, you very likely know one. You need to call them. You need to FaceTime them. You need to just ask how they are doing and keep them engaged with the world. Of course we need to do this for everyone but I’m not writing an everyone thing here so just deal with that.
Our way of life is being jolted. You probably didn’t know this or think of it but even AA meetings are canceled. We are regrouping and having meetings virtually but what does that do for the new person or the person who was considering their first meeting or wondering if maybe they have a problem? Well you can understand why I am concerned.
If there is a chance you are questioning your drinking or drug use and reading this, there are still many ways to get help, to address it. I don’t want this situation to produce a large number of relapses, and I hope I am wrong, but I fear it will. But just as we can contain the spread of the virus by being away from each other, we can also contain the disease of alcoholism if we stay in contact with each other. Reach out to others if you are struggling. And if YOU are not struggling reach out to someone who is. And if you don’t know anyone who is struggling then you don’t know anyone at all because everyone is struggling in some way, especially right now. We will get through this but we need to band together, all of us.
Do me a favor (and I’m stealing this idea from a few very wise people), no matter who you are, make a promise to yourself that each day you will try to reach out to two people in some capacity. To clarify, I mean call or Video Chat in someway. A text is just ok. Let me tell you why I wouldn’t text.
A text is easy for a struggling person to:
1. Deflect and disregard
2. Not engage or care about
3. Easily lie about their current condition
So call two people tomorrow and the next day and the next day and well just do it at least until we get through this thing. I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, whether you’re an alcoholic or not, doesn’t matter, you’re day will be better because you did this. You can’t say you don’t have the time. This is the time to help each other. We can be better and maybe we even learn how to live better because of this. I love you all and thank you for reading.
If you need additional help:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 24/7 Helpline
1-800-662-HELP (4357) samhsa.gov