As soon as lockdown was announced I knew there was going to be a spike in my interactions, either from people in active alcoholism or active recovery. I knew I was about to get busy. Alcohol Change UK reckons a third of drinkers have been hitting the bottle at “increasing or high-risk levels” in the last six months. I suspect this is a drop in the ocean.
I run a Twitter and Instagram account called Secret Drug Addict that offers support and signposting for anyone affected by addiction and mental health issues. I opened up my direct messages on Twitter some years back out of frustration, watching austerity cripple the services that supported me all those years ago.
I’m pretty safe in the knowledge that I have a solid foundation in my sobriety. I committed that journey 13 years ago when I walked into my first 12-step meeting. That doesn’t make me evangelical or cocky. I just know exactly what I am. And what I need to do to maintain that. I count myself one of the lucky ones. I have no idea how the past several months would have affected me had I not made that decision to get sober when I did.
It’s a privilege to hear people’s stories. These people have shared their darkest fears, their grief and joy with me, a complete stranger. I’ve had to adapt and learn as it’s growing, and I picked up a few bits of paper to qualify myself and ensure the language I’m using is appropriate. I had to build up a support and signposting network fast. Lockdown, however, has been on another level.
Most addicts in early recovery have trouble believing they'll ever have fun again but if they hang in there, it's amazing how good life can become.
— Secret Drug Addict (@ScrtDrugAddict) November 16, 2020
What we are witnessing is a basic structure of support being pulled out from everyone. It came pretty unannounced, and it’s not showing any signs of letting up. People teetering on the periphery of alcoholism or addiction suddenly have no normal time constraints or commitments. The wheels have come off.