This is not a post I thought I would ever write. First of all, I hope anyone reading this is safe and well, and anyone who’s ill – I wish you a speedy recovery. We are at war, but instead of soldiers putting their lives on the line, it’s the amazing people who work for our NHS.
I think it goes without saying that until this pandemic rose it’s evil head, the NHS workers were the most underappreciated force in this country. They are not anymore. They brought me back from from the brink of death when I had liver disease, and saved my life when I drank half a litre of hospital hand sanitizer. These are just two examples from a long list of what the NHS have done for me. And although I have been grateful, I have not been anywhere near grateful enough.
So many lessons can be learned from these unprecedented times – both individually and collectively. It’s up to us all to come out the other side as better people. If we follow the advice, adhere to the rules and help each other – we will get through this. And maybe we will all be a little kinder moving forward.
For anyone battling addiction – you can use this time to build solid foundations for your recovery. When I was at rock bottom and had lost every last ounce of my self worth, I didn’t know where to begin to try and claw some of it back.
I have always said that achieving the smallest of goals IS a huge part of me staying sober. I began with exercise and walking my dog. These were achievements to me in the beginning of recovery (and still are today). Little things I was introducing in to my routine which made me feel ‘normal’ again. And Part of society again. These are the things that helped keep me on track and keep my head in the right place.
The point I’m trying to make is, if you are an addict and struggling right now – help yourself by helping other people. Honestly, it will end up helping you more than them. You have the perfect opportunity to really help others by volunteering to help the NHS, and build your own self worth up at the same time. For me, my non-existent self worth was a huge trigger for years. I felt like I was a failure. I felt like I was useless. I felt like I had nothing to contribute. So, I felt sorry for myself and relapsed again and again.
This is such a huge chance for anyone to help other people, but for people battling addiction, it could also be an opportunity to give yourself the best shot of recovery when this is all over. Obviously, not everyone is able to volunteer. You may have a family to look after or you may still be working. And I’m definitely not saying that everyone MUST volunteer. But, I think this is genuinely an incredible chance for anyone struggling with addiction to take a huge leap forward.
There are even opportunities to help others from the safety of your home, by offering to phone the most vulnerable for the NHS. A phone call will go a long way to someone who is isolating on their own for 12 weeks. And if you are anything like me, you will be telling them your life story of addiction within two minutes! Telling my story and taking about addiction is one of my strongest tools in my battle against the booze. It keeps it right at the front of my brain – in a good way!
Whether you help people or not, we are all going to have a lot more time indoors than we are used to over the weeks ahead. This whole situation is like Christmas come early for the addictive side of an addicts brain. It could easily be the case for me anyway.
Years ago, I would have used this isolation period as one big excuse to drink. That’s why it’s so important that I keep to a routine. Another reason why volunteering will help you if you’re battling addiction- It becomes part of your routine.
Another important factor in my isolation routine is exercise. I use my outdoor daily exercise session, as I’m sure most people do, but I also include some indoor exercise in the evenings. That way I always have something that I still need to do. It stops me from having to much time on my hands – which could be dangerous.
And the obvious one for addicts….talk to as many people as possible. Even if you are on your own, make sure you are phoning friends, family etc. It is so important that you say how you are feeling out loud to other human beings. Don’t try and fight the battle of addiction in your head on your own. Bottling up your feelings is the worst thing you can do.
If anyone needs to have a chat during this isolation period, drop me a message on the contact page of this blog. I will be happy to give you a ring for a chat. I know this is a testing time for everyone.
As I mentioned earlier, for an addict, this current scenario is one big excuse to use. But it doesn’t have to be. Use it to give you the best chance moving forward. Stick to a healthy routine, talk honestly to as many people as possible and (if you can) help others. It could be the best thing you ever do for your recovery.
Stay safe everyone. Thank you for reading.
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