The coronavirus pandemic has left us reeling for so many reasons. We’re all struggling with our own personal demons, and it can be easy to overlook the struggles of another. But if your loved one is struggling with addiction, there’s one certainty. They need support now more than ever.
They may be telling you that they’re fine and everything is okay, but this is a difficult time for everyone. And it’s especially difficult when your go-to coping mechanism nearly ended your life. They need help, and you want to help them. But the answer isn’t to bombard them with probing questions. Support is usually a lot more subtle than that.
So if you’re looking for helpful ways to support your loved ones who are struggling with addiction right now, here are some ideas.
Open The Dialogue
While it’s true that you don’t want to bombard your loved one with probing questions, it’s helpful to open a dialogue. Let your loved one know that you understand how hard this time is on everyone and they must be facing challenges you don’t completely understand.
Like so many others right now, your loved one may be feeling guilty for struggling. When we hear about others fighting for their lives or losing important people to them, we often feel guilty about sharing our own personal struggles because they seem to pale in comparison. But as a loved one of a recovering addict, you can hold a safe space for them to share their struggles, fears, and anxieties with you.
Abstain With Them
If you haven’t already removed alcohol from your life, now may be a good time, especially if you live with the person who is struggling.
One of the major struggles people in recovery face is that alcoholism seems to be normalized as a coping mechanism right now. Open any social media newsfeed, and you’re likely to see jokes about day-drinking or alcoholism during isolation. Alcohol seems to be the coping mechanism of the masses right now, and for an alcoholic, it’s far from funny. These things can actually be quite triggering.
And although there’s nothing you can do to shield your loved one from the world, you can keep them from getting a birds-eye view of self-medication. It may be helpful for them to see someone exhibiting positive coping mechanisms. But at the very least, you can rest assured that your habits won’t send your loved one into a relapse when you abstain.
We can’t deny that these are difficult times. And they’re difficult for all of us. But if you have a loved one who struggles with addiction, our current situation is far from ideal. And if your loved one happens to relapse, don’t panic. It’s definitely possible to recover from a short relapse if your loved one is ready and willing to do the work. On the other hand, if the relapse seems to be lasting, it may be time to investigate residential treatment programs. Either way, it’s possible to get through this challenging time together.