Addiction is a disease that thrives in isolation. After initial treatment, it is essential to pursue efforts to keep communication lines with others open. However, due to the pandemic’s challenges, it may be much more challenging to build schedules, plan meetings, and stay connected outside of treatment. Isolation is now on the forefront as the biggest threat to your recovery. If not addressed, this can stand to diminish the quality of your recovery. Isolation is one of the biggest relapse triggers. Feelings of loneliness and boredom may lead you back to substance use. However, despite COVID-19 dampening your efforts, recognize this as your first challenge outside of treatment. Understand that there are many alternative ways of staying connected and attending meetings; you just need to be more vigilant about doing so.
Organize Your Contacts
Despite the social challenges presented by the pandemic, there are many alternative outlets to keep connected. You may consider using a telephone, cell phone, Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Utilizing any one or all of these platforms is a great way to stay connected. You can organize groups within each of these platforms into separate categories, such as “work,” school,” recovery,” sports teams friends, etc. Organizing in such a way will help you quickly recall their name and number instead of scrolling through all of your contacts. It is a great way to ensure that in a time when you need to reach out, you have your support contacts readily available.
Use Video Chat
Using video chat software does not need to be daunting. Most of these platforms are straightforward and offer in-app support. However, you can always reference a YouTube tutorial to troubleshoot any problem. These platforms are intuitive and versatile in that you can share screens and watch videos together. You can also find software to record you and your friends, and you can make mini-movies or video journal entries.
Such technology can open up many different avenues. You can dress up your environment around, or invest in an affordable mic and start a video podcast with friends from support. Finding ways to make using online mediums more exciting is not only a great way to distract you from not being able to see people in person, but these different activities add some structure to your day.
It might be easy to order your favorite comfort food and binge-watch television while at home social distancing. However, this is not the best way to help your recovery. Encouraging other impulses such as online shopping, gambling, obsessively watching the news, and dressing in sweats every day only sets you up to create other unhealthy habits that will add to your stress. Structure and accountability are crucial for your recovery.
If you work remotely, take time to work on breathing exercises, meditate, and connect with others. If you are not working, try to create an environment where you don’t feel powerless. Take time to read, write, exercise, or begin a new hobby. Use this time as an opportunity to explore someone or something that inspires you. If you are actively looking for work, you can use this time to refine your resume and connect with others about job opportunities or help you with a recommendation. Understand there is no wasted time when you are actively pursuing opportunities to continue self-growth and manage your recovery.
Mind Your Behavior
Amid such difficult times, you will likely experience moments of frustration – feeling trapped and alone. You might also experience feelings of restlessness, anxiety, and even depression. It is essential to manage your behavior. Identifying when you are doing something out of the norm is a good place to recognize that you might need new ideas to help manage stress. For example, if you find yourself finishing a bag of chips in one sitting or sleeping on the couch night after night, these are signs that something else is affecting you.
You can also watch for emotional changes, such as feeling lethargic, not having an appetite, or feeling sad, which are important issues to address. This is when having the support to call on is essential. Reaching out to your therapist, sponsor, or peers from recovery can help bring you back to your center and re-energize your motivation toward recovery. Support, coupled with self-help practices, mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and getting adequate sleep, are ways to keep a strong recovery.
Recovery takes persistence, patience, and at specific points, pain. However, to endure means to gain the gifts of clarity, a sense of self, and sobriety. Support is essential to the process and is a practice that needs to be prevalent throughout your journey to recovery. These times with COVID-19 are hard. It might feel unfair to your choice to become sober, but understanding these challenges might present the best opportunities for lasting recovery in the coming post-pandemic world. If your stress and anxiety have become too much to overcome, you need to seek professional help. At True Recovery, we remain persistent and proactive in bringing our patients the best treatment amid this pandemic. With refined Telehealth services and 24/7 admissions, we continue to provide quality treatment, both conventional and alternative. At True Recovery, our goal is to provide you the best services so that you can manage your sobriety long after treatment. There is never a wrong time to reach out. To find out more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.