Welcome to Rose-Minded, a mental health blog and self-care brand supporting others through their journey. We love to encourage journaling, self-care, and sharing your story to promote healing and recovery. Continue reading below for the guest writer's 7 tips for coping with addiction during social isolation.
The addiction recovery process is tough and challenging. You have to constantly fight with your inner demons and impose rigid self-control on yourself. The Coronavirus pandemic has made it even tougher to manage the addiction recovery process as you cannot explain your problems to your doctor in-person. Like everyone, you are stuck in one place without having any idea when this self-isolation period will end.
Pandemics have become a stress factor for everyone. Many people are experiencing stress, depression, and anxiety. Plus, Covid-19 can trigger a relapse. People who depend on substances like drugs or alcohol are bored at home. They have nothing to do. Plus, there is one big stress factor for you, especially when you are in the addiction recovery mode. You cannot meet your supportive friends or relatives or doctors every day.
Peg Sallade, a Substance Use Prevention Coordinator at A Healthy Lynnfield said,
"It's a time of undue stress and uncertainty that impacts people with substance use disorders. It also puts those who are managing their mental health at risk for increased (substance) use as a negative coping strategy."
Brian Barnett, MD, who works at the Department of Centers for Behavioral Health at Lutheran Hospital, says there has been an increase in overdose deaths since the outbreak of pandemics in the US. He recently commented that it has become a subject of major concern since pandemics have increased the chances for a relapse since there is no one at home to restrict their temptations for alcohol, drugs, or smoking.
People are isolated and stressed. Plus, there is no one at home. So, it is easy to give in to temptations.
According to doctors, despite these challenges, there are ways of managing addiction recovery during self-isolation. If you want to remain sane and safeguard your health, then here are a few ways to do that.
1. Throw away all the bottles of alcohol and drugs
Have you stocked alcohol, drugs, or other substances you depend on in your home? Have you done it to overcome stress during the quarantine period? Do you honestly feel that things you might be addicted to will help you to overcome the stress and anxiety?
Consumption of alcohol can derail your recovery process and even trigger a relapse. It can put all your hard work in the last few months in vain. This is why you should get rid of the stockpiles so that you cannot drink alcohol or take drugs in your weak moments.
2. Vent out your feelings and frustrations
You can set boundaries for the people who create stressful situations for you. If any family member is creating trouble for you, then have a talk with others about it. Inform them that you are getting stressed due to his or her behavior. Also, stay away from negative people in your home. Try to minimize your interactions with the troublemaker by staying in a different part of the apartment.
If you are getting stressed due to a particular situation, then discuss it too. Have a candid conversation so that your family members understand your problem and help you avoid a relapse.
3. Stop participating in any stressful activity
The news about Covid-19 is everywhere. The moment you open newspapers or news channels, you will be flooded with information about death tolls, vaccines, medical expenses, and so on. It is quite depressing to read or hear about death all the time.
So, you should limit your media exposure. Stop watching the coronavirus news all the time. Avoid discussing viral infections all the time. Try to avoid checking updates about this deadly disease before going to bed or after waking up in the morning.
4. Participate in activities that help you to heal
Who says you cannot do anything during self-isolation other than drinking alcohol? You can workout for an hour in your free time. Look at your neighbors. You will find many people who need genuine help. You can do something to help them in your capacity. It will help to distract your mind from the thoughts of drinking alcohol.
You have to keep yourself busy with productive activities. That is one of the effective ways of dealing with loneliness, stress, anxiety, addiction recovery, etc.
You can also explore your forgotten hobbies during this time. If you love painting, then you can do that. You won’t get so much time for yourself later.
Boredom may push you towards relapse. So, you should try to fill in your idle slots with productive work.
See More: Best Exercises For Anxiety
5. Get acquainted with your triggers and stay alert
Self-isolation is one of the biggest triggers for relapse in substance abuse. The coronavirus outbreak has put millions of people in self-isolation. It is indeed a tough time for people who are trying to recover from addiction. They are experiencing the same feeling of their past isolation.
We have already discussed how to kill boredom with productive activities. Now, let us discuss the possible triggers of a relapse on alcohol or drug abuse. Once you are well acquainted with your triggers, you can take precautionary steps to avoid a relapse tactfully. So, here are a few of them.
Insecurity in financial life
Relapse of a mental illness
Find out which one of these is your trigger. Take steps to avoid these triggers and stop yourself from walking on a dangerous route.
6. Seek support online from the right people
While it is true that now you can't always make an in-person appointment with your doctor, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot seek support. You can set up a virtual appointment with your doctor via various platforms. You can speak to the doctors over the phone or online and get the right medical support.
Many drug and alcohol recovery centers are providing outpatient clinical care through online platforms. If you are not tech-savvy, then you can schedule appointments over the phone. No issues.
See More: How online therapy can ease your anxiety
7. Use the digital world to relax with your friends and family
You cannot visit a friend. Your friends cannot come to your house. But, you can always speak to your friends via Skype or Zoom. That option is available. You can schedule a personal meeting in Zoom or Skype or Google Meet and can talk to your friends for hours. It can help you to de-stress and relax.
Moreover, your friends can warn you against taking alcohol or drugs. They can suggest various ways to stay away from alcohol or drugs. If required, you can do video chats with friends every day when they are free. The bottom line is, you should not keep yourself isolated.
Medicine and therapy are a must when you want to recover from addiction. You can also join the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program, where you can get an opportunity to interact with other people who are in the same boat. Ask them how they are dealing with self-isolation. Find out what they are doing to avoid a relapse.
You can also share your experience with them. Apart from joining the AA program, you can also do meditation or mindful exercise, which is extremely helpful in regaining self-control. Meditation is good for both mental health and physical health. It helps to improve your memory and morale. It also helps to fight depression, reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
About the Author
Ralph Macey, a professional writer since 2008 and medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014, writes articles on all mental health-related subjects. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He has provided mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community.