When the National Lockdown was announced after much speculation and not a lot of surprise, my biggest concerns were immediately keeping the family safe and ensuring we were able to access food and supplies as it seemed people had ransacked the supermarkets! My husband is very anti-hoarding and was constantly enforcing that we took no more than required from the supermarkets.  

However, as a female gambler I know from communication with members of the gambling group I attend that others, depending on their point of recovery and presumably individual personalities, were terrified of the prospect of no access to physical meetings, or, distractions such as the daily working environment.  

Recovery should not be easy or comfortable but it shouldn’t haul you over the coals constantly either

I remember at the beginning of my recovery that it was so important to keep busy. Quite suddenly you have so much time on your hands when your life is not revolving around when you can next gamble. I have mentioned previously that I took great pleasure in organising activities for the family and yet I was still very aware of there still being lots of ‘time’. I didn’t reflect in that moment at the start of lockdown how the inability to go out and actually do things would have affected and potentially altered my recovery journey.  

Thinking about it now I can say that in the first lockdown there was a strong chance of relapse, given how early it is in my recovery. I know others in recovery who did relapse during the lockdown, I cannot say whether it was solely the lockdown that contributed or whether they would have relapsed anyway, but many do struggle without the access of physical meetings and the accountability they feel by their peers.  

It’s happening more regularly in this second lockdown.    

Lockdown and 2020 has made me once again aware of ‘time’ and how for me this can be a dangerous aspect to my recovery. Idle thoughts and hands! This is something I am going to take as a positive from the lockdown. A big reminder that whilst you might be in recovery, you better not become complacent and if supportive factors you may have relied upon in your recovery are taken away, then you need to work hard to find other ways and quickly.  

Recovery should not be easy or comfortable. It shouldn’t haul you over the coals constantly either but it should be something you work at and be damn proud of every day you make it!  

Something else I have thought about often during this time is how bad things would have been had I still been gambling and lying. I can’t imagine the pain I would have felt in trying to keep my head above water whilst on lockdown. How I would have explained money losses and hidden my moods.  

The thought of how I would have felt is very raw for me and a huge kick up the bum to continue as I am doingthe alternative petrifies me.  

Here are some of the things that helped me fight against the addiction while on lockdown: 

  • Walking/Exercise  
  • Reading  
  • Being active around the house, cleaning, tidying and finally doing those jobs that have been ‘waiting’ I have to say the sense of achievement from this was great, especially when my husband noticed and commented 
  • Family time, might have been slightly different, but films and games – home schooling helped too 😉