Substance use disorders thrive in isolation. As states require their citizens to stay in place and social distance in hopes of decreasing the spread of COVID-19, many people who struggle with addiction or who are in recovery are finding their resolutions more challenging than ever to uphold. Support groups and coping mechanisms which were once available for assistance have closed, shifted, or gone on hiatus. No longer can a person meet with their sponsor face to face, or pop in at the gym to practice mindfulness exercises. Healthy outlets that once helped people manage their sobriety have been ripped away. These sudden limitations have caused many people in recovery to experience drastic increases in stress and anxiety as they scramble to figure out how to maneuver around these obstacles.
Healthy outlets are crucial for a person in recovery. Shelter-in-place mandates have left some people confined in an environment that can trigger them. Some individuals feel trapped in challenging family or living circumstances. These positions made some feel as though alcohol or drugs were the only means of escape. With the elimination of healthy outlets, a person’s alcohol or drug intake could spiral, creating a cycle of high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. COVID-19 added great pressure onto many people who were in recovery, causing them to break down and relapse. Loneliness, fear, and stress can all trigger a person to relapse, and this pandemic heightened all of these emotions. Stay-at-home mandates created many obstacles for Americans, but for those struggling with their sobriety, the difficulty to survive can feel insurmountable.
Here are a few ways to make maintaining your sobriety a little easier:
Schedule Contact Online
For those who find group support essential, the inability to attend in-person gatherings is a real challenge. Although the vast majority of 12-Step programs and support groups are no longer available like they once were, many can still be accessed online. These virtual meetings have been around for quite some time, but many have noticed a spike in attendance due to the current crisis. Virtual meetings give people in recovery access to their support groups through their devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Telecommunication allows you to maintain access to your peers and others within your support group, who can be huge lifelines during your recovery. If you need help looking for virtual meetings, reach out to your sponsor, or visit Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There is still help available for you. It is also recommended that you set up a schedule to meet with the people who help you stay on top of your recovery so that you don’t lose accountability.
Distance Yourself, But Don’t Isolate
Isolation is a destructive force for many who suffer from addiction. While it is important to follow mandates that are put in place in your state and country, it is also important to avoid putting yourself in a place that is unhealthy and isolating for you. You still have access to your support groups. It may not be the same kind of access, but now is the time to change your perspective. You can reach out to your loved ones and support groups at almost any time of the day. It is important to maintain these relationships to avoid negative emotions and feelings of isolation. Now you can call, text, FaceTime, Zoom, or email with them, all from the comfort of your home
Mix It Up
One of the best ways for you to get out of your head is to find something that will occupy your time. Although we are each limited in what we can do while at home, we still have the opportunity to try out new things. Gyms may be closed for some, but exercising at home is still a productive option. Mindfulness activities such as meditation and jogging around the block are great ways to turn your focus from cravings to something much healthier. Other ways people are occupying themselves while stuck at home have included gardening, DIY projects around the house, listening to music, reading, doing puzzles, and sending letters by snail mail – the options are endless!
Your health and well-being are your eternal priority. Despite the challenges that we continue to face due to this pandemic, we can and will prevail. COVID-19 continues to make daily headlines and take up space in our minds. It is critical that you find healthy, effective ways to make it through these challenging times. Many aspects of the current situation are out of your control, but your sobriety is in your hands. Your sobriety does not have to be negatively affected by the state of the country. Remember to reach out to your support groups and seek help from professionals whenever you need to.
Regardless of how the pandemic affects your life, your sobriety is still a priority. There are many outlets that may no longer be available, but once you realize how many effective resources are still open to you, you will recognize that you’re not alone. Support groups are essential for many people throughout recovery, and although they might look a bit different right now, there are ways to keep in contact with your fellowships and sponsor. Do not give into temptation. Your support groups are available through means of your smartphone or devices. You can still distance yourself without isolating yourself from the outlets that matter most to you. Take up a new hobby, such as crafting or engaging in mindfulness activities within the walls of your own home. We know that COVID-19 continues to bring turmoil for so many people around the globe. You are not alone, and we can help. Reach out to Everlast Recovery Centers today. Call 866-DETOX-25 to learn more.