Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

I have been noticing that people in shops are purchasing unusual amount of alcohol. Last week in Tesco I witnessed an argument between two women over who would take the last of a three-bottle offer of wine.

This got me thinking about the plight of addicts in this crisis, both recovering addicts and those still in active addiction.

I am in recovery myself and have been so for 13 years. I haven’t really experienced any cravings or using thoughts despite isolation, increased stress and anxiety. I have been doing this long enough so I have learnt to process my feelings.

I wonder what it’s like to be addicted to say, heroin, in the current crisis. I remember feeling anxious about getting my next dose but this was more about getting the money to pay for it than finding the stuff. There was always a ready supply from drug dealers. I remember a time, shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan by coalition forces, when there was draught. For active addicts it was a really grim time. I imagine that it must be pretty hard to come by some smack these days with everything that is going on. The prices must have sky-rocketed as well. Businesses have been encouraged by government to avoid profiteering from the crisis, but drug dealers are not know for being ethical or scrupulous.

Another aspect is financing a habit. People duck and dive, shoplift, sell their bodies, beg, borrow or steal. All these activities have probably seized as nearly everything is closed. Shoplifting is quite conspicuous with all the empty space due to social distancing.

And then there must be the feelings of being an outcast and a parasite of society. I remember feeling like I was an infectious disease all of my own. It must be horrible being a using addict right now.

I hope that these circumstances allow/force some people to get clean and seek help. But I am also worried about lower tolerance due to difficulties in getting hold of drugs and the corresponding increase in the risk of overdoses.

On the other side of the coin, there are those who have managed to get sober and who are also very vulnerable, especially those in early recovery.

I remember very clearly some of the most important messages I heard when fresh out of rehab: go to meetings, avoid isolation, ask for help, you cannot do this alone. These messages I followed and are partly what got me to where I am today. But I imagine that it must be really tricky at the moment.

All NA and AA face to face meetings have been moved to Zoom meetings online. This is great but very different to what people are used to. I attended a couple of online meetings and I found them to be a bit chaotic, with people trolling meetings and being abusive. I also heard some amazing shares and very powerful messages. But I wonder what it feels like for the newcomers and the vulnerable who are yet to find their voice and confidence.

I was talking to my partner this morning about how we are coping with the current upheaval. One of the ways that I have been coping is by going back to my basic recovery training, as it where. I have found that the tools that have kept me clean and serene are very useful at a time of pandemic: take it one day at a time, one step a a time, having the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change what we can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I will like to finish this entry in the same way that every 12 step meeting starts: by having a moment’s silence for those addicts who are yet to find sobriety and serenity.

Good night all

OneLove OneHeart

Tonight’s choice of music is by Gill Scott-Heron: I’m New Here

World-wide confirmed cases: 777,286

World-wide deaths: 37,582

World-wide recovered: 164,446

UK confirmed cases: 22,448

UK deaths: 1,408

UK recovered: 171