How are Recovering Addicts Coping with COVID-19?
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How are Recovering Addicts Coping with COVID-19?
As we all try to adapt to a new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have issues to deal with. There is isolation, worries, and concerns for our family and friends, depression, anxiety, and even boredom. Our “normal” lives and lifestyles have changed immensely. However, there is one group of individuals that most people have forgotten about. How are recovering addicts coping with COVID-19 and the new regulations associated with it?
Recovering Addicts Coping with COVID-19
There are numerous recovering addicts who rely on continued counseling and the help of support groups and meetings to help them maintain their sobriety. Many of those individuals in recovery have formed new bonds with others as they participate in sober recreational activities and support each other as they work to maintain their sobriety. Now, recovering addicts coping with COVID-19 and the issues that come along with it, are struggling to not take that drink or not use any drugs as they are isolated from their support systems.
Virtual meetings and Facetime meetings can help recovering addicts in isolation but it is still not the same as that face-to-face companionship and camaraderie that has developed over sometimes years of friendship with other recovering addicts. At this time when recovering addicts are losing jobs through no fault of their own, the stresses can become enormous and overwhelming. Attend the virtual meetings and you can share your feelings with others who are more than likely having the exact same issues as you are at this time. This can be very helpful.
Don’t Let Addiction Relapses Increase During COVID-19
Recovering addicts coping with COVID-19 have been taken out of their comfort zones with their daily schedules of support meetings and the normalcy of going to a job every day. All of these changes put additional stress on individuals on top of their previous stresses and anxieties. They cannot go to clinics and meet with counselors and support groups as they did previously. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new isolation and possibly even older mental issues that the recovering addict may have long ago put behind them.
Many individuals who feel as if they have lost their support systems and treatment programs due to isolation, may slip and start easing their painful feelings and oncoming dread with substances of abuse. Being isolated in your home does not mean you have to be isolated from family and friends who give you support and encouragement in your effort to remain sober. Make phone calls (not text messages) with loved ones where you can really connect and express your feelings. You will feel their support in their voices. Find something to laugh about. Nothing is all gloom and doom.
What Can We do to Release Stress and Anxiety?
Above all else, those individuals in recovery can keep their spirits up by seeing that this pandemic will end. It may not look like it to you right now, but it will end. Until then, try to keep your stress and anxiety levels as low as possible. Everyone is stressed right now and sharing fears associated with COVID-19. Just remember, “This too shall pass.” Many Americans will never go back to their normal life after losing loved ones to the pandemic. However, we need to try to maintain some sort of normalcy in our day-to-day lives right now.
Try to eat healthy meals which will make you feel better physically as well as mentally in addition to exercise. Try to get outside if at all possible at this time. Go walk while keeping your distance from others. Look at nature around you. Doing this can be calming and soothing to your mood. When you are feeling especially stressed if you can’t get outside, do something in your home that will improve your mood. Call family and friends to check on them. If you are having an especially hard time, call a friend or member of your support group. Having someone listen to your thoughts and fears will make you feel better. They will reassure you and help you through the bad times.
Moving Forward After the COVID-19 Pandemic
Think about how far you have come in your recovery from addiction. Don’t stop trying now. Just as you did before this pandemic happened, remember that your struggle to remain sober is a daily struggle. This is a good time to reflect on our lives and find ways to improve and learn to be stronger individuals in all of our efforts in this life as we go forward.
Always remember that you do have support and encouragement available even during these difficult times. Take advantage of online support groups, loved ones who care about you, and your own strength. We will all get through these difficult times and come out as stronger individuals.
Drugabuse.gov – COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders