Week five of Lock Down and the situation gives a whole new meaning to the idea of ‘alternative lifestyle’. Often a euphemism used to describe how drug-takers live their lives, we’re all having to learn to do absolutely everything differently: queue for food, walk in the middle of the road to avoid other pedestrians, hold our breath when a heavy-breathing jogger passes and, hardest of all, distance ourselves from friends and family. The new norm does have some benefits, however, as we are spending more time gardening, reading, cooking and appreciating things we had not even realised about our own neighbourhoods.

What about our addicts though? How are they coping? Are they coping? My son Ryan is not doing at all well at the moment. Living on a boat with no electricity or running water, he simply can’t spend all of his waking day there. Not only is it obviously impractical, but also because he just can’t stand being alone. He told me how rotten things are for him a couple of days ago. Having unblocked him on Messenger since COVID-19 hit, he got in touch and asked me to phone him on someone else’s number. It seems his own phone is broken and he can’t get it repaired as the bloke in the market, who is his go-to fixer, is isolating like the rest of us. Ryan has also spent all his benefit money and, as he won’t get any more for two weeks, his words to me were that he’d be dead now if it weren’t for certain friends.

Hearing his news at 10 o’clock in the evening led to an inevitably sleepless night followed in the morning by rising anxiety levels. That’s when I decided to dig out an old phone (which is still working), pack up a bag of food, and contact him to say I’d be happy to bring them over. A few hours later he read the message and I’ve heard nothing more. Things like this puzzle me but it’s not unusual behaviour for my son as he has never really reacted predictably. I have also decided that I’ll try and get some provisions to him every week (apart from the one when he gets his Universal Credit) until the Lock Down is over. This goes against a promise I made to myself that I would never get involved in this sort of thing again. But currently we’re leading an alternative lifestyle that none of us could have imagined and doing things we wouldn’t normally do. I feel calmer in the knowledge that I’ve made the right decision for myself and for my son in these extraordinary times.

How is your addict managing at this point? How are you coping? I hope you’re able to do whatever feels right, knowing that when this thing is over, we can go back to normal, even if our normal is not the most ideal of situations. Stay safe and stay sane.