When you suffer from addiction, sobriety is a daily decision. It doesn’t matter whether you are brand new to recovery or have multiple years of sobriety under your belt – the thing that prevents you from relapsing is your daily level of commitment. However, with the new public health measures put in place to decrease the spread of COVID-19, people in recovery are experiencing stressors that make sobriety extra challenging. As anyone who struggles with addiction can tell you, having a support system and a close network of other folks in recovery is crucial to a sober lifestyle, but with group meetings and intensive outpatient sessions moving online and social distance policies keeping us apart, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain those connections. On top of that, the daily anxiety of living under a pandemic is enough to put stress on even the most committed sober individual.
In other words, times are extra tough for people in recovery. What are the best ways to stay drug and alcohol-free during COVID-19? Take a look at these suggestions.
Take Advantage of Recovery Resources Online
Depending on where you live, there may be limited in-person options for working on your recovery. Maybe your group therapy session has moved online, or your sponsor prefers to talk over Zoom rather than at your local café. Rather than get frustrated and abandon these resources, use the online versions to maintain your recovery progress; while perhaps not preferable, online meetings will still provide the structure you need to stay sober. Narcotics Anonymous has a list of options. Have an internet-savvy friend help you if you find yourself struggling with the finer technological details.
Reach Out More
If you are spending more time alone, feelings of loneliness and isolation are sure to trigger a relapse. Remember: just because you can’t see people doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them. Plan to talk to multiple people each day via a variety of methods: over the phone, through text, video chat, email, social media – you could even go with snail mail. The important thing is maintaining a consistent level of communication and making sure to switch up your method to make it less routine.
Rethink Exercise and Mindfulness
People in recovery tend to have highly active lifestyles that include working out, meditation sessions, and other things that promote mind-body health. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all facets of daily life, you may find these resources have been altered or removed right alongside your recovery resources. But there are things you can do – in fact, you can use the situation to rejuvenate your routine. If your local gym is closed, transform your living space into a workout space, or take advantage of a public park where you create some distance from other people. Focus a little more on mindfulness than exercise – it’s extra important these days to not dwell on things that are beyond your control, and mindfulness is the best way to stay centered and stay focused.
Escape the Bubble (Safely)
Sure, things like movie theaters and theme parks and restaurants are either fully closed, operating at a limited capacity, or beyond your current level of comfort, but there is still a lot of recreation to be had out there. State and national parks are open, and they provide ample space to enjoy the outdoors and keep a safe distance from crowds. You can camp, take a hike, or enjoy any of the healthy, safe activities provided by a park. If you’ve been meaning to work on your golf swing, spend some extra time at the driving range, where it’s easy to maintain a safe distance from other people. It’s a great time to start a new hobby, too. Fishing, hunting, skiing, kayaking – you name it. If it happens outdoors, it’s something you should try.
If your recovery or the recovery of someone you love is getting harder to manage during the pandemic, contact Alpine Recovery Lodge today at 866-209-3549 for additional resources and information.