14 Sep 20

photo by transly @ unsplash.com

2020 has been a year when the lifestyle we take for granted has been hugely affected. COVID-19 has impacted everything from our daily routines, activities, to the freedom to socialise with family and friends. Even with some restrictions easing in many states in Australia, it still can be an uncertain and stressful time for many people.

Though it’s been an overwhelming year, many of us have shown strength and determination. We’ve found new hobbies to keep ourselves entertained and embraced the ability to be mindful and still for a while. 

This new normal has also been particularly challenging for the people who share the struggles of a person experiencing substance use issues — family members, partners, friends and loved ones. The pressure that comes with being in lockdown or uncertainty about the future can increase fear and anxiety.

Strategies can help

When things are uncertain it can help to develop structure and strategies negotiate the path ahead. 

Some strategies that you may like to try are:

  • If you are a loved one that lives with a person that is experiencing issues with drugs/alcohol try to set boundaries as best as you can. 
  • Understand these issues have may have been occurring for some time, be realistic in your expectations and know things won’t just change because of COVID-19 restrictions. 
  • Take some time out for yourself, you are important. Give yourself permission to take a step back and focus on yourself.
  • Make an effort to prioritise your mental health by reaching out to other supportive people in your life.
  • There are also helpful support groups you can participate in with other family members going through similar experiences. You’d be surprised how uplifting and refreshing it is speaking with others who genuinely know your story. 
  • Engaging on the Counselling Online forums gives an opportunity to connect with others that may have similar experiences.

Take some time to reflect on all the things you have done to help this person so far, acknowledging your journey so far is important. Some questions you might like to reflect on at this time are:

  • Are there things you have neglected in your life from trying to help someone else?
  • What works for you when things are tough, what helps improve your mental health?
  • Who supports you? Who do you go to for support?

Find support

Although starting a conversation may sound intimidating as we mentioned above you may be surprised at how liberating an experience it can be, here are some places to start:  

Online support

Counselling Online provides free and confidential support to family and friends of a person affected by alcohol and/or drug use. 

We are to support you as you support others.

Telephone support numbers

If you are more comfortable speaking to a person on the phone, call:

  • Family Drug Support 1300 368 186 (also provides meetings across NSW, VIC, SA and QLD).
  • Family Drug Helpline 1300 660 068 (also provide family support groups across Victoria)
  • The National Drug and Alcohol Helpline 1800 250 015 for support in your state.