Addiction is a silent disease for so many. It will be hard for those who are closet drinkers and users to get away with behaviors while we are quarantined to our homes. Some though will be essential workers and can make it out into the world away from the family to mask themselves once they have used. But, with many stores still selling alcohol and establishments selling curbside service of cocktails this can be an alcoholics dream come true. It is now easier than ever to purchase that drink and “take it home unopened” to share with the family. How easy it can be to purchase, tell the family that you are going out for a drive to escape the household, and create the perfect storm in your vehicle. They can sit in one of many now isolated places and drink in their cars and then drive themselves home. My concern is as the days pass and the tensions and stressors of our current situation close in on many, that this may become the norm of closet drinkers and those who use as a vise even with others knowing may become all too normal.
Family tensions will rise with everyone now more prone to watching one another on a daily basis and what I call “veering into one another’s lanes tending to their business.” It can be easier to point out others’ faults or even normal behaviors so as not to look at whatever is making them antsy or uncomfortable in their own skin. An addicts’ behaviors can affect everyone’s moods and their undertones can make for long days in the home. Teens can find themselves wanting to isolate even more to avoid the arguments or slide comments in the common areas of the house. This will push the limits or even the healthiest persons coping skills and can lead them down a dark road of loneliness and even causing them to reach for a unhealthy coping vice such as alcohol in the home, prescription medicine in the medicine cabinet, or many other common items in the house that teens have found pretty savy in their ways of abusing.
Addiction is a mind and body disease and once a person feeds the addiction with the drug of choice the body will begin craving. Addiction is a viscous cycle and one that takes professional help to break. Not everyone who picks up a drink or uses prescription or street drugs will become addicted. A person can carry a gene is carried on genetically from one person to the next. If there is a person who has an addiction, even one that is not diagnosed there is a probability that the gene will be passed to the next generation. Some addictions or addictive behaviors are not addressed within families, so therefore there is no knowledge of what could be taking place.
It’s in this silence that secrets are common and unhealthy patterns emerge. I like to tell my clients that “secrets keep you sick.” The more a person has to lie about intentions or about their behaviors the more walls are put up to keep a families or relationships apart. This is what causes dysfunction to breed. Intense times such as these are perfect settings for families to come apart. With awareness and knowledge and quick intervention to help, anyone in the family can lay out a path for wellness. Know yourself and your feelings and talk with others in the family about any times of feeling unsettled or upset. Together a family can work at creating a healthy balance and develop coping skills to charter through these unchartered waters in which we have been catapulted into.
Stay well and take care. Reach out to my office if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to speak on the phone or have a telehealth session.