How to Stay Sober and Prevent Relapse During COVID-19

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You’ve struggled through addiction, detoxification, rehabilitation, and you’re finally into recovery. You know it’s a tough lifelong fight but your life is back on track. Now you have a new obstacle to face: COVID-19 and social distancing precautions. Whether you’re an old hat at recovery or fresh out of treatment, the months of isolation can derail your recovery. Don’t let it. Follow these guidelines to cope with all the distractions and challenges that have been added to your recovery process.

What Are the Signs That You Are About Relapse?

It’s important to know the signs that you are about to relapse and this was discussed at length in your treatment process. You think you’ve got this, but don’t be too sure. If you’re overconfident in your ability to cope with all the additional stresses right now, you’re more likely to relapse than if you have a healthy respect for the fact it can happen to anyone. So what do you look for?

If you find yourself having thoughts about drinking or drugs again, you may be headed for a relapse. It’s normal to have thoughts about those days when you abused substances, but if you’re thinking you can have one drink or one hit to calm your nerves, you’re kidding yourself.

Do you find yourself thinking that your recovery program doesn’t help? You’re doing all the right things but you still feel depressed or anxious and want to turn to drugs and alcohol. Maybe the program isn’t working after all, right? Wrong. Having those kinds of thoughts makes you more susceptible to relapse, but you don’t have to give in to them. Have faith in yourself and your recovery.

You’re on a rollercoaster of emotions and feeling extreme swings in your moods. It’s hard not to be stressed or depressed during this time and those emotions can trigger a relapse. You might be fighting unemployment or dealing with family while you’re trying to work from home and it can put a strain on relationships. This makes you want to turn to the bottle or needle to cope.

What Can I Do to Prevent Relapse?

Like everyone, you should be reaching out online for support from family and friends as well as support groups. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have plenty of virtual meetings to attend. Look for recovery support groups on message boards and social media for additional support that’s available 24/7. When you have a crisis, it may not coincide with a support meeting, but you can get help from others who understand your struggles even quicker with an online group.

We know you’ve heard it before, but practicing self-care is even more important than ever before. Remember that self-care is not just indulging in some experience, but taking the time to take care of your health and emotional well-being. That may mean taking the time to cook yourself healthy meals instead of ordering constantly from DoorDash. It may mean taking time to exercise instead of sitting on the couch all day. The important takeaway is to make time to take care of your health because you are worth it.

Do You Have Too Much Free Time?

Are you finding yourself with too much free time during COVID-19? You likely learned in treatment how important it is to schedule things. Schedule work time if that’s applicable, exercise time, cooking time, and you can fill some of the extra time with a hobby. Take up art. Learn to knit. Use YouTube videos or DVDs to learn a new skill. The important thing is to find something to fill that free time so you spend less time thinking about relapsing.

Most of these recommendations can apply to anyone but those with a history of substance abuse should also create a relapse prevention plan. You may have done this as part of your treatment but it may be time to create a new one. It can include some of the recommendations above but you might also add things like mindfulness meditation, yoga, or journaling. Setting a schedule and making a plan to manage any new triggers that can lead to relapse is important during quarantine and social distancing. Your circumstances have likely changed and your plan may need to change as well. Make sure your recovery plan includes some way to stay connected to your support groups and the people who help keep you sober.

These last few months of the coronavirus pandemic have been difficult for all of us on a global scale. We are all struggling with social distancing, quarantining, the fear of contracting a deadly disease, and for far too many, the actual loss of family and friends due to COVID-19. All of us feel overwhelmed but those with a history of substance abuse may feel like their support system is being ripped away. It doesn’t have to be. Support groups have adapted to virtual meetings and you can take advantage of those. We can’t change social distancing requirements just yet, but we can use any extra time we have to pursue some hobby or start an exercise program. By using a relapse program specific to COVID-19 restrictions, you can survive out relapsing. Everlast Recovery Center understands how difficult recovery is in the best of circumstances, but even more so during this pandemic. We can offer you support and we won’t let a pandemic keep you from the medical help you need. Our Riverside, California facility offers help in a homelike setting with home-cooked meals. It’s important to keep your body healthy as well as your mind through counseling and holistic therapies like art and yoga. Call us today and learn how we can help at 866-DETOX-25, (866-338-6925).

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