Now is not the time to be quiet.
With the world facing a global pandemic the likes of which has never been seen, the news is all COVID–19 all the time. It’s all we think about, all we talk about, and all we see during a twenty-four-hour news cycle.
It almost feels irresponsible to speak of anything else; this disease can strike anyone and everyone through no fault of their own. (Although that argument might not be so true for those on beaches still refusing the recommendations of social distancing.)
Yet other diseases, afflictions and illnesses haven’t disappeared in the wake of COVID–19. Cancer patients still have cancer, diabetics still must manage their insulin, patients with kidney disease still need dialysis, and addicts are still addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s easy to forget those illnesses that are always with us in the face of something so new and terrifying. But now, perhaps more than ever, we must be mindful of those struggling with other illnesses and addiction, lest they be dismissed or forgotten.
Addiction is a disease grounded in a need to self-medicate, for whatever reason. And stress is a trigger for addicts seeking escape from fear, challenges and uncontrollable situations.
COVID–19 meets all those criteria and more.
It stands to reason that this pandemic puts addicts at even more risk—to use, and possibly to overdose. And the stress on families of those struggling with addiction has likely increased exponentially.
So, don’t be quiet. Just because addiction is an ongoing struggle doesn’t mean we can afford to shelve it during this global crisis. Isolation and social distancing certainly make it more difficult to find help, but recovery centers are still operating. DreamLife staff are still working to help those in needand available to help guide those struggling.
Call. Talk to someone, even if, perhaps especially if, you have no idea about what to do now.
Call if you’re an addict. Call if you’re a family member. Speaking to another human being while we’re cut off from others will help you feel less alone, give you guidance, and provide options available to help you through this time.
Ask questions. Ask for resources that are useful and accessible online. Ask about online meetings.Ask for a listening ear. You’ll find one, in fact, probably more than one, willing to listen, help and provide hope, because there is hope, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
In this time of uncertainty, we need to be available to one another more than ever, especially when fighting illness on multiple fronts.
Don’t be silent if you’re struggling with addiction. There is help, still functioning, still fighting for health, even in these times when the medical world is stretched to breaking.
Don’t assume your struggle is not important. Make some noise, ask for help, and stay, or get, well.
Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at www.maryfranbontempo.com.
Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.