We had barely finished wishing each other a Happy New Year, bravely hoping for a better 2021, when news reached us that Lockdown 3.0 was starting, amidst the doom and gloom on news feeds and social media about record breaking new infections and unfathomably high death rates, with the NHS once again at risk of being overwhelmed. And in a flash here we are back in a national lockdown. Only this time the banana bread doesn’t taste as good.
With everything else going on in the world, It’s tempting to go down the rabbit hole of apocalyptic doom-scrolling, obsessive news watching and negative thinking - but our message is loud, clear, and simple - please don’t go there!
Only a few weeks ago, we were writing about the incredible resilience shown throughout 2020 by people in recovery, and the strength and bravery of those who wanted to start their journeys – of how 12 Step fellowships had adapted and thrived with widespread take-up of video meetings, and how treatment centres such as Clouds House had managed to remain open to provide life-saving addictions treatment despite the major challenges posed.
We wrote of 2020 ’at this difficult time, when face to face 12 Step meetings could not take place, it was heartening to see the blossoming of 12 step fellowship video meetings, which many reported were a lifeline. Individuals in recovery were finding new ways of carrying the message to newcomers. Communities were rallying, new shoots of hope were emerging from the seemingly frozen ground of the lockdown.”
We need to apply these principles of resilience to the new 2021 lockdown, to keep ourselves, and those who wish to follow us into recovery, safe. We’ve seen very clearly first-hand through our clients, our community, surveys and emerging research that there is a direct correlation between lockdown and increased addictive behaviour.
What starts off as something to relieve boredom or anxiety can become a coping mechanism that leads to dependency or addiction - whether it’s alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, pornography, food, or a myriad of other things. As the relationship with that substance or behaviour becomes more important than anything else it eventually becomes all-consuming, and the consequences such as physical withdrawal symptoms, problems with relationships, work, money or sleep can all too soon spiral into chaos.
Our poll also suggested that over a third of those who described themselves as being in recovery from an addiction reported either a recurrence in addictive behaviour or a relapse in their recovery.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. We saw last year that finding the community and connection necessary for recovery is possible during lockdown, whether you’re a newcomer an old-timer, or somewhere in between. We’ve also seen that it’s possible to go into residential treatment, get well, come out and stay well, all during lockdown. The inspiring stories from people achieving recovery during and after our treatment services are testimony that addiction does not have to be a lasting legacy of the pandemic. There may be no better time to enter treatment.
We believe that anyone can achieve recovery, and we will continue to be there for people in the grip of addiction wherever 2021 takes us.
So please don’t let lockdown put you off getting the help you need. Addiction can be life-threatening and destroys families. You don’t need to wait, and whatever you do, please don’t let the national emergency diminish the gravity or importance of your own situation - you deserve, and are entitled to, help with your addiction.
Clouds House has remained safely open throughout all previous lockdowns and The Brink Liverpool and SHARP Essex remain here for you. We have pages of advice, videos links to other resources that you may find helpful in the meantime – as we said on March 25th 2020, isolation doesn’t have to mean disconnection.
To visit our advice pages full of practical guidance and suggestions in informative posts and videos click here.
If you want treatment, Clouds House is here for you. To enquire about taking the steps to a new life with our experienced, expert clinical team click here.
To view lists of online meetings click below. There's even an "always on" 24/7 marathon AA meeting you can attend any time of day or night.