No doubt the COVID-19 Pandemic is making it tough for plenty of men and women globally. Any situation where there are feelings of uncertainty can give rise to emotions like fear or anxiety. This is one reason it’s essential to be vigilant in your addiction recovery practice right now. You want to take all the measures you can to avoid an addiction relapse
With the social restrictions put in place in the last few weeks, there are notable blessings. Most people report that having to stay home more often has allowed them to relax and breathe more. They’re spending more time with their loved ones, getting their “to-do” lists done around the house, and just hitting the pause button in some areas in their life that may tend to stress them out normally.
However, there are also some challenges that come with social distancing, especially for those in addiction recovery. If you’re used to attending face-to-face recovery support groups, you may be dealing with some loneliness from having to remain at home. You may not be able to get to an outpatient program or counselor, and this could be challenging for some.
The good news is that there are some things you can do to avoid relapse amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune into the following tips to keep yourself free from triggers and/or temptations.
With the self-distancing rules in place, many people find themselves sitting at home alone or with their families. This can be a wonderful thing, but let’s remember that addiction tends to cause many people to isolate. They cut off from their friends and oftentimes family members to numb out or escape with their drug of choice.
To avoid relapse, it’ll help you to take inventory of your daily life. Ask yourself, “Am I isolating? How am I getting support at this time?”
Since you may not be able to get to meetings in the community, utilize the online resources for recovery to avoid addiction relapse. There are online video meetings for those recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. Look for the online Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Make a commitment to connect with these video meetings, even if it’s just to listen to others.
You can also connect with your sponsor regularly if you have one. Use FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom to make that face-to-face connection. If you’re in fellowship regularly with your support network, it’s less likely that you’ll feel isolated and therefore, less apt to experience an addiction relapse.
A great way to avoid relapsing is to be sure that you are in regular support from your friends, professional, or sponsor if you have one. Even if you can find one partner that you can connect with via the telephone or video chat, it’s going to help you stay strong in your recovery and feel less lonely or alone.
It’s helpful if this person knows you fairly well and understands your struggles and victories regarding addiction recovery. You can ask them to be your accountability partner for the time being, especially since you are self-distancing at home. You may find that this person and you jive really well, and may choose to keep the accountability going even after the pandemic has cleared.
You might not be used to staying home all the time and this could lead to some boredom. To continue to be effective in your addiction recovery, do your best to stay busy doing things that you enjoy. Now’s the time to make that to-do list of all the things you said you wanted to do around your house but never had the time. And, get busy doing those things!
This is also a great time to start exercising or working out if you desire. There’s plenty of ways to work out at home, and you might even want to get your whole family involved. Go for walks, hikes, bike rides, watch exercise videos, or come up with your own, unique exercise regimen – all within a social distance from others, of course.
They’ll be plenty of time to watch television or play video games, but try to limit your time on technology, as going overboard on technology can actually make people agitated. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy some good shows, but know when it’s time to get up and get busy around the house too. And, if you’ve got a partner and/or kids at home, be sure to spend some quality time with them.
If you find yourself triggered and really craving your drug of choice, make it a priority to reach out for help immediately. If you’ve done all you know to do, but you’re still feeling triggered, reach out to that someone who you know can help you get your mind cleared and offer you the support that you need. This could be a sponsor, your therapist, accountability partner, an online support group, or a trusted friend. There are also some social media groups or mobile apps that help you connect with others in recovery. Check them out!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, take advantage of the extra time at home to pause your life and reset whatever needs to be reset. If negative feelings arise, take some time to ponder what they’re about. Is it fear? Anger? Shame? Discontentment?
Take some time to sit with them, breathing deeply and exhaling all the negative vibes. You may want to take some time to learn about dealing with such feelings via books, articles, or videos on the topics. If you need more support, consider reaching out to a therapist online or one in the community that may offer video sessions.
Avoiding relapse during the pandemic is possible. Take these tips into consideration as you go about your self-distancing life with an optimistic, hopeful attitude toward your present and future life.