Below is a short discussion inspired by the episode "Coping With Addiction During Coronavirus" from Red Table talk.
Addiction is a painful experience not only for those suffering from it, but for their loved ones as well. It’s difficult, but when we’re willing to face the realities of addiction, we’ll be able to work through it together.
On this episode of Red Table Talk, Dr. Mike Dow discusses how people struggling with addiction can cope during the pandemic. When we’re holed up in our houses, away from loved ones, we can easily fall into behaviour patterns and coping mechanisms that can spiral into addiction.
What can we do to stop this spiral?
- Get help.When you feel the early onset of addiction, seek professional help. Psychologists and rehabilitation centers are better equipped and informed to deal with addiction.
- Hold yourself accountable for your tendencies. Investigate situations and emotions that cause you to turn to your addiction. Create healthy routines that can serve as alternative outlets. If boredom is the cause, find ways to be productive or creative.
- Be someone else’s support system. There are limits to introspection. We will always be limited by our own biases. We can make up for what we lack in perception when we supplement each other’s accountability.
- Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t. The pandemic is out of our hands. But how we respond to it is still in our control. When we shift our focus inward, we can put more energy and attention into dealing with our addiction.
When we focus on what we can control, and keep each other accountable, we can create a more healing environment. Together, we make the burden of battling addiction lighter, even with a pandemic that’s making life for everyone harder.
the distilld lessons
Here are the distilld lessons inspired by "Coping With Addiction During Coronavirus" from Red Table talk:
Addiction, like most diseases, is best addressed as early as possible. When we seek help immediately, we have a likelier chance of overcoming addiction.
An idle mind is addiction’s plaything. The time we take doing something is time away from indulging our unhealthy patterns.
Talking with others also help us work through the underlying causes of our addiction.
Addiction shouldn’t be dealt with alone. At its very core, addiction thrives on our loneliness and our pain. Support systems are our best chance at recovery or helping others recover.
Adrienne Banfield-Norris was once addicted to heroin herself. Even in her 30th year of sobriety, she reaches out to her support group so that they can help her remain accountable.
We can control our surroundings to control addiction. When we put our guilty pleasures out of reach, we can be safe from succumbing to temptation even in our weakest moments.
We are our brother’s keeper. When we let someone know and feel that we’re there for them, they can rely on us, instead of their addiction, at their worst moments.
We should find ways to reach out to each other. Social distancing may give us limited physical contact, but technology can bridge the gap.
We can go back to The Serenity Prayer. When we focus on what we can change, and act on it, we can control behaviors that may trigger our addiction.
Good feeling can be found from within. When we rely on our own thoughts and actions to generate positivity, we reach less for our guilty pleasures.
- Get help. Seek out professional help especially when you feel that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to combat your addiction. This is a journey you don’t have to take on your own, and therapy can help if you let it help you.
- Find a support system. Additionally, you may want to consider going to group meetings, finding a sponsor who will check up on you, or having your loved ones help you through the healing process.
- Hold people accountable for their recovery. Addiction in itself is a painful, vulnerable journey. By holding them accountable, we’re helping them get healthy and achieve lasting sobriety. Let’s be their light as they go through their journey of healing.
- Focus on what you can change, not on what you can’t. Can overthinking about the future change it? No. Focus on what you can change now.
For a more in depth conversation, the distilld lessons (extended) are here.