How to Avoid Relapse While in Quarantine
You may be stuck in your home right now because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning you are alone in your thoughts about drugs or alcohol. If you are living alone and feel like you are going crazy from boredom, you may want to order a case of alcoholic beverages to be delivered to your home. Your current situation of consistently staying home can encourage relapse (especially if you are alone), so it is important to learn how to prevent it to avoid repeating unhealthy habits.
Coronavirus-Related Stress and Relapse
A pandemic is not something that happens every day; the last one we had was in 1918. That means this generation has no clue what to do. This leads to a lot of confusion, pain, and stress. If you know someone has contracted the virus, this can lead to uncertainty about their health and yours. People who are not infected have to practice social distancing until the pandemic has passed. The stress of isolation and a loss of your normal routine means not being able to see anyone in your recovery social circle. This disruption may make you want to use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
Signs of Relapse
You know you are relapsing when your stress levels are rising. Refusing to admit that you are having problems or acknowledging your stress will increase your chances of a relapse. See if you notice a change of attitude, like abandoning your recovery efforts or your feelings of depression rising up. You may also be having thoughts of the times you used to use, without remembering why you quit in the first place. Not being able to meet up with your recovery friends or sponsor could be giving you an excuse to use, since they are not there to talk you out of it. Maybe you have told yourself that just one drink or one joint will not ruin anything, and you may begin to lack faith in the recovery system if you cannot attend anything.
Talk About Your Feelings
The first step to avoiding a relapse is to talk out your feelings — are you experiencing emotions such as feeling scared, insecure, depressed, or lonely? By keeping your feelings inside, you are giving them more power. Be completely honest with yourself that you feel like using again and you need help to continue with your recovery. You can still reach out to your friends, relatives, or sponsor through video chats or phone calls. It may not be the same as seeing them in person, but at least you are still able to talk to someone. You should also check online to see if anyone is hosting any 12 -Step meetings that you can attend virtually. If you own a journal, you can write about all your thoughts and feelings. Read them to yourself so you can remember that you used to think this way before your recovery, but you eventually pushed these feelings aside to focus on what is important to achieve sobriety.
Do Not Feel Guilty
Remember that what you are feeling now is normal for anyone in recovery. Especially with the pressures of staying isolated to prevent yourself from contracting a serious virus, it is normal to not know what to do in this situation. Do not punish yourself for having these thoughts — this is your mind telling you how important it is for you to continue with your recovery.
Just because you do not have to wake up to go to work or meet up with anyone does not mean you should stop taking care of yourself. You should be exercising regularly with activities such as taking a walk, going for a swim, or participating in at-home workouts. You can also practice mindful meditation to calm your thoughts and focus on the present moment instead of the uncertain future. Make sure to eat healthy foods and get a good night’s sleep for seven to eight hours. You can also reconnect with a hobby that you did not have time to do before like drawing, writing, or playing an instrument.
Create a Thankful List
You may feel like drugs or alcohol are the only things that can make you feel good right now. However, it is important to remember that there are other things and people in your life that can make you feel great without negative consequences. Think of all the people who make you happy and all the things you like to do, and write them down. You can also think of this as a list of all of the reasons why you want to be sober. Whenever those negative thoughts come to you, this list can be reviewed to remind yourself why the sober life is the right one to live.
Ask For Help
Drug addiction recovery may not be something that you can do alone. Even if you are living alone in your house, you should still call your sponsor or anyone else in your social circle to let them know you need help. Tell them you would like them to be there for you and advise you on how to cope while you are at home, and to remind you to avoid the temptation to have cases of beer delivered to your home. In this uncertain time, one thing you can be certain of is that you need help and want to maintain a sober lifestyle. It is important to ask for help — it is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are aware of a problem that needs to be solved.
Isolation during the coronavirus pandemic can make it increasingly difficult to remain sober, but your support system can still help you through the challenges it presents. If you need help, the knowledgeable and experienced counselors at Silver Lining Recovery are here for you. We believe the most effective way to treat addiction is to find the underlying cause of it and offer professional help. Our customized treatment program offers a number of different individualized therapies, including EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling. Please call us today at (866) 729-8577 to learn how we can help.