Coronavirus and Alcohol Addiction – Leon Standing, Therapist – Elysium Private Health Brighton
We are all encountering some tough times at the moment with the presence of the Coronavirus. We are living in a world that has suddenly changed, and is full of unknowns and uncertainty. Will our world ever get back to some sort of normality?
Everybody is affected to some degree by the impact of the virus, whether that is emotionally, financially, physically or mentally. So how are some people managing?
Alcohol is easily available. It can soothe and relax us after a long day. It can make time with friends and family more fun, and make socialising much easier. But when does someone’s alcohol use become a problem? Has your drinking increased since the lockdown? Have you started drinking earlier in the day than you used to before the lockdown?
Maybe you notice that you’ve been drinking more than other people. You may even feel uncomfortable or uneasy about how much you drink, but try to hide it or even dismiss it. You may only aim to drink small amounts, but end up getting drunk though not intending to. You might think about alcohol more often, even when you are not drinking. You may even start to isolate more and lockdown has made this easier to do. Have your relationships or employment started to suffer because of your alcohol use? If your alcohol is affecting your quality of life then this is a sign that you need to ask for help.
Alcohol is a drug like any other but not everybody sees it this way, especially in our society where alcohol is viewed as a normal and socially acceptable activity. This, for many people, is okay; but for the problem drinker this enables a normalising and minimising of their alcohol use and can prevent or delay someone from seeking the help that they need.
Alcohol misuse and other addictions are on the increase in our communities and society due to the pandemic conditions where stress, anxiety, relationship and financial issues are becoming commonplace. People perceive using alcohol as a way of coping or managing life issues but this can easily spiral into addiction and lead to someone losing control of their use of alcohol.
In my view, addiction can be seen as a progressive and sometimes fatal condition. Once loss of control has been established, then addiction can continue for life and is only halted by abstinence and ongoing emotional and psychological work. This can be a frightening prospect for people to come to terms with, and people will desperately try and attempt to find ways to control their alcohol use without success. At this point in someone’s addictive process, the person can only begin to find freedom and recovery by identifying and admitting to their loss of control.
Recovery is possible though!
When a person seeks help and comes for alcohol misuse therapy I consider this a brave thing to do. It’s tough! What initially interests me as a therapist is: has this person lost control? What is fuelling that person’s alcohol use? Addiction needs fuel to keep it going. So what is that fuel? Alcohol use can be a way of avoiding the pain or truth of something. In this light, addiction could be seen as an indication of something far deeper than someone’s use of alcohol.
But there is hope!
Counselling and therapy can provide a way for someone to address their alcohol use or any addiction to find recovery and a brand new way of living.
Recovery is about reconnecting with relationships and the world and also rediscovering and understanding yourself better, and working through what may be troubling you beneath the surface. This begins a journey of transformation and healing. This is not an easy pathway and takes honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, dedication and a commitment to change. I would encourage anyone out there who is battling with alcohol or any addiction to seek help because there is a way out, and you are not alone.
Right now, I believe we all have a rare piece of time to learn to work on ourselves, and work through feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty and an unknown future. Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s bad. It can just feel that way.
There is the potential in working towards a place of acceptance that we are all not in control of our environment but by letting go of control we can find some freedom and this creates an opportunity to stop and truly reflect on where you are in life. What is really important to you? Take a look around you. What do you really see? Find some gratitude for what you have around you and the relationships you have. You have far more than you may realise but stopped seeing it or have taken it for granted with our fast paced style of living.
I believe that there is a life within and beyond coronavirus and alcohol addiction, so what is it that could help you through this in a healthy way, and make you happier? You could decide to make changes in your life that otherwise may not have happened. This is where we take the positive out of a negative situation. We all have the capacity to survive and thrive. We just have to adapt right now and work with whatever happens.
We are never truly in control of our lives, we just create ways to give us the illusion that we are. This takes a lot of effort and energy and it doesn’t have to be this way. A change in attitude, letting go of control, and beginning to see what life can look like through a different set of lenses can bring freedom, hope, curiosity and acceptance.
This feels like a far better place to be.
At Elysium Private Health Brighton we have a team of highly passionate, caring Therapists that are there to be alongside you on your recovery journey. To speak to an advisor, please call 0808 168 1290 or email infoEPHbrighton@elysiumhealthcare.co.uk for more information about how our outpatient and day care services can help you with your recovery.