Since the advent of COVID-19, a strain has been placed on nearly every form of activity all over the world. Almost all economies have taken a hit, as measures are being put in place to curtail the virus. One of the more bold actions taken so far is the total/partial lockdown of some cities and states. By implication, lots of people have to stay home and wait out the pandemic.
People are trying to adapt to this temporary norm for as long as it might last. Nonetheless, for an individual who is on the path to recovery, this could be an even more stressful time. Some lucky individuals work from home and keep their minds actively occupied and creative. For some others, it’s been hours and hours of nothingness, with days rolling into each other seamlessly.
While trying to help themselves pass the time, some people have relapsed. And it doesn’t help matters, because even in normal times, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that about 40 to 60 percent of people recovering from substance use, relapse.1 The ongoing crisis is a particularly unpleasant one, and there are lots of speculations that it would trigger addiction relapse.
At a time like this, common risk factors such as stress, loneliness, or anxiety are likely to put you at risk of relapse, as you might be tempted to indulge and relieve yourself. These apply to those going to work, working from home, or just staying at home.
If you are one of those that have relapsed, do not uphold the mindset that you have failed. Such a mentality can only make things worse; rather, in your acknowledgment, look for the trigger and avoid it. If you can’t avoid it totally, look for ways to address and limit its impacts on you.
On the other hand, if you have not slipped, or you feel you might relapse any time soon, we have a few tips that can help you stay strong through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Create a routine: You are at home, not out of work
Regardless of the situation and your view of it, there is something you can be doing right now that you are not doing. You might want to push the idea behind you, but really, you shouldn’t. There are little things you can do around the house to keep your mind, body, and soul busy. Things that can help you stay right on track and true to your recovery from addiction.
This is the time to do all those things you said your busy workdays wouldn’t let you do. This is the time to redecorate your home, build a treehouse, start a journal, follow some workout routine, complete an online course, read all those books you kept saying you would read, try out some DIYs – you get the point.
If you think it would be hard to stick to any of that, create a schedule on your calendar for each project. Create milestones, stating the progress you wish to have made on certain days, and see how you stick to it. Creating routines have been found to help tremendously in combating addiction relapse.2
Note: while we advise you to try new things out, you shouldn’t place unnecessary pressures while accomplishing set goals.
- Explore socialization
There are orders to maintain a social distance, but for your sake, that order doesn’t apply to the virtual space. If you are an individual that lives alone, this period could be especially trying for you, as you might yearn for some human interaction, but wouldn’t find it. Even family lives are getting upended, and folks are getting tired of being with their family members 24/7.
This is the time to link up with family and friends some more through various online platforms. Do not isolate yourself from the world. Make out time to play interactive games, and have fun discussions that tighten relationships – it would help your mental health a lot.
- Talk it out
If you feel yourself at the brink of relapse, talking to someone about it might help get you back on track. You should always feel free to consult your recovery specialist, a coach at your recovery program, a participant in your recovery program, or any other person you know to be going through the same recovery journey with you. In cases where talking to a family member or friend doesn’t help, you should consider this option.
Sometimes, it takes talking to someone who understands your plight for you to be able to stay true to your recovery. Some recovery and drug detox programs have gone online, though different from physical meetings, they are worth a try.
- Eat healthily: alcohol and other addictive substances don’t count as essentials
People are stocking up on a lot of things, and while we might not be able to tell you what food item to stock up on or not, we can confidently tell you that alcohol shouldn’t be part of it. Stocking up on alcoholic beverages during this period is one way to get wasted, which is also a gateway to substance use all over again.
If you must, consume within reasonable and responsible limits, when you have family or friends around. For people who had a previous alcohol addiction, and are living alone, it is probably best you avoid it altogether. This also applies to prescription drugs that contain substances you were previously addicted to.
Whenever you are creating your grocery list, include as many fruits and organic foods as possible. Try having various fruit juices available, and as well drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Over the years, proper nutrition has been proven to help people in recovery.3
- Find and Address the trigger
What makes it hard for you to stay clean? What is pushing you to want to imbibe? You can ponder on these and similar questions to determine situations or things to avoid in other to stay clean through this pandemic. It is a simple yet effective step to avoiding relapse.
Reach out to us
If you feel disoriented or find yourself struggling to stay on track, and nothing you ever try to avoid a relapse seems to be working for you, then you should contact us. We will provide you with as much assistance as possible to ensure that you do not slip.
Now is not the time to give up; we are always here for you.