Even the toughest and healthiest among us feel the strain of being in quarantine, of living in fear and uncertainty and having our mental and physical health threatened. If you’re in recovery from addiction, you’re also worried about suffering a relapse. The structure used to maintain sobriety is very threatened by COVID-19, but falling back into old ways is not inevitable.
Quarantine Triggers for People in Recovery
There are temptations and triggers for people practicing sober living in the best of times, when you aren’t forced to stay home with your own thoughts and vices. During the time of coronavirus, people in recovery are facing a shifting reality that has shaken their foundation and put their triggers front and center:
- Stress and anxiety: Drugs and alcohol are an easy choice to separate or numb yourself to stressful and anxious thoughts and feelings.
- Isolation: Losing proximity to typical support systems and outlets that help a person stay sober can lead to self-medicating in order to deal with the uncomfortable feelings and loneliness.
- Boredom: Having too much time on your hands and no usual activities to fill it is an invitation to delve back into the substances that are guaranteed to distract from reality.
How to Get Support When You’re Social Distancing
While the rug may have been swept out from under all of us, support for sober living isn’t going anywhere. There are many ways to get the robust support you need even when social distancing.
- Outpatient treatment: If you’re in a rehab program already, engage more to further insulate yourself from temptations, even if this means doing so virtually. Attend online meetings, engage in chatrooms, stay connected.
- Telehealth services: Many people in rehab are also dealing with other health conditions at the same time. Make good use of telehealth services to maintain appointments with doctors and therapists.
- Check in: Ask others to help you be accountable. Find two or three trustworthy and important people you can check in with daily and who will give you support and keep you focused on your goals.
Tips for Staying Sober During COVID-19
We are living in a time of unprecedented chaos. The world was quiet when the lockdown first began, but it’s gotten louder with every passing day, and the call to delve right back into the comforts you once relied upon for relief from the discomfort is tempting. Help the unpleasantness subside by practicing methods for staying sober.
- Maintain connections with people. Whether you’re single and alone or paired up and living with your family, maintain connections with people. Talk about how you’re feeling. Be honest about temptations or if you fear you’re beginning to falter. Allow others to help you.
- Establish a routine. Knowing where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing from the moment you rise until you go to bed is necessary for someone in recovery. You don’t need downtime to give your thoughts time to wander and give you an opportunity to relapse. Make a schedule and stick to it.
- Stay busy. Try out that new hobby or activity that you haven’t had time for up to now, like cross stitch, diamond painting by number, or putting a puzzle together. Do some remodeling or redecorating. Keep your mind and body busy.
- Balance your technology usage. Limit your exposure to the news and social media, but don’t ditch the phone or computer entirely. Use your screens to stay connected to your support system, whether you’re talking on the phone or doing a video chat.
- Make sure all temptations are out of the house. Anyone in recovery should already be living in a home free of drugs or drinks, but quarantine can see those things sneak back in, especially if you live with someone who can partake. Discuss your parameters with your roommate or loved ones about how your home needs to remain a drug- and alcohol-free space.
- Stay active. If your existing exercise routine has been derailed by gym closings or the inability to leave your home, seek out new ways to move every day, whether that means using an exercise app for yoga or interval training, running laps in your backyard, or going up and down the stairs over and over again.
- Breathe: Part of successful sober living is relying on a higher power to guide you, so whether that happens through prayer, meditation, journaling, yoga, or otherwise, connect to that element and hang on.
If you are struggling with your recovery during COVID-19, know that you are not alone and there are people ready to help you maintain your sobriety with the safest measures possible.
Learn more about the holistic treatments at Beachside Rehab by contacting our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770.
Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash