The Outbreak of COVID-19 has rapidly changed every aspect of our daily lives. The virus has posed serious threats and challenges to those working towards or trying to maintain sobriety.
If you feel like it’s becoming more difficult to manage your sobriety since COVID-19 has hit, its normal, and it’s okay! Here are 4 reasons why COVID-19 poses new and unique challenges with sobriety and what you can do to overcome it.
1. Family stress
Worrying about the health and safety of loved ones and/or not being able to see friends and family can be a huge stress factor during the pandemic. While the family is often a support tool in recovery, it’s possible that it has become less of a support mechanism and more of a stress point. Families are spending much more time together these days and while it can be positive, for someone in recovery, this can begin to feel suffocating. Specifically, if you are used to having certain moments of the day when it’s you on your own, where now your kids or partner are home. It is normal to struggle with having to adjust to less time for yourself. In other words, try your best to express to your family that you need extra support while trying to find new ways for your self-care. This is an act of love to you and your family as keeping a healthy mind makes it more likely that you’ll keep away from substance abuse.
2. Change in schedule
An important part of sobriety is maintaining a healthy routine that keeps you active and supports your mental health. This can involve meeting friends for a workout or having your weekly coffee at your favorite shop. When Coronavirus rolled around many people were stripped of these small, but important parts of their lives that kept them feeling balanced. Having your routine dismantled can be triggering for addicts as they no longer have access to a lot of the things they incorporated into their daily routine to remain balanced. If possible try maintaining as much of your social outings as possible, just without the outing part. Video chat dinner or play board games over zoom!
3. Reduced access to treatment and meetings
When struggling with addiction it’s extremely important to have consistent, quality health care. It is likely that due to social distancing protocols and the health care system that’s strained from the virus, your treatments such as counseling or group meetings have become less accessible. This can have a huge impact on an addict’s mental health as these treatments and meetings are a safe space. Dedicate time to create a safe space in your home to go when you feel overwhelmed. Try and keep in touch as much as possible via phone calls etc with your family doctor or counselor to monitor you if you are not receiving treatment as often.
4. Access to substances
When the hold world feels closed, it’s not uncommon to find whatever reason we can to get out for a walk. With most stores being closed, besides the “essentials,” such as the liquor store, it becomes all to easy to relapse. With all the extra time on peoples hands and the easy access to alcohol, it’s the perfect storm for an alcoholic to relapse or fall further into their addiction. Try avoiding going out unless its for a specific need. That’s the safest way t prevent yourself and others from falling ill, and from being tempted to buy alcohol or other substances.
In these moments of increased stress, it is common for addicts to turn to substance abuse as a stress relief mechanism. However, this can be counter-productive as it’s a short term fix that will be likely followed by additional stress or guilt from using again. No matter which of these apply to you, the biggest rule is communication. Whether it be with your partner about needing extra support during this transitional time, or reaching out to friends and family to stay busy and prevent feeling lonely, communication is key!
If you or a loved one has relapsed, call a rehabilitation center today to get them or yourself back on the road to recovery. A simple search such as “Rehabilitation Center Los Angeles” for example, will be the fastest way at finding the closest treatment center to you.