Isolation holds a specific horror to those who struggle with substance abuse. Being alone and left unaccountable can spell disaster for someone in recovery. Pamela Bridgeman, LCSW, MAC, CCTP, President and CEO of A Healing Journey Counseling and Consultation L.L.C. talks about the stress of Covid-19 and the pressures that mount for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
This is a strange trying time for everyone. In some way or another, we are all being pushed out of our comfort zones; leading many of us to test the limits in some regard. For social drinkers the drinking becomes less social in quarantine, and for those in recovery the accountability less tangible. The key is to be honest with yourself. Bridgeman explains, “If you find yourself saying, ‘just one more’ or ‘I don’t drink as much as so-and-so’ often you may want to take a step back. These are very classic lines of justification for unhealthy behaviors.”
For someone feeling isolated in their recovery it is very important for them to reach out to their sponsor or support network. “There are many telehealth options to keep the communication and treatment ongoing. It is so helpful to be able to share your struggles with others during this crisis; to talk to them and see their faces. It reminds individuals that there is an entire network to keep them on their feet and on the path toward healthy and positive choices.” says Bridgeman.
There are many resources available and contacting agencies that support mental health has become increasingly easier with new telehealth trends. “If you suspect that you are struggling with alcohol or substance dependence, or any mental health crisis, you really should reach out to your local Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline. They can put you in touch with the appropriate services that you need to get and stay healthy. At the end of the day, it is important to care for your whole being. pandemic or not, we are not one-dimensional people. We all need to care for our spiritual, mental, and physical health.” Says Bridgeman.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health seek help. Remember that you are not alone and there are compassionate and confidential resources available. Contact 1-800-662-4357 or visit www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.