For all of those who are newly sober or have been in recovery for some time, choosing to remain sober isn’t easy. It is a decision made daily and everyday can have its challenges. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process; add a global health pandemic into the mix and maintaining sobriety becomes an entirely different and difficult challenge, no matter how many days, weeks, months or years an individual has been sober.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, what we considered “normal” daily routines have been changed to quickly adapt to the “new normal” way of life. This new norm brings forward feelings of boredom and isolation. With daily routines being interrupted at such length, depression, stress, anxiety and new triggers are inevitable for individuals in recovery.
The following are some ways to help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while staying sober:
Stay connected to your support network
Continuing to be connected to your network of people for support, strength and guidance is essential when guidelines and social distancing measures are preventing in-person contact. Creating a schedule will keep you accountable to check-in with your sponsor, family and friends. A quick call or video chat can help you feel connected to others during these times when we can’t meet with those outside of our household.
Online supports or Virtual meetings
Support group meetings (i.e AA, NA, etc) have been a key tool for people recovering from addiction. During the current state of the pandemic, these in-person meetings have been temporarily suspended. Fortunately, with the assistance of technology, most groups have gone online in order to ensure their members are still able to access the needed support network. There are also plenty of websites, forums and social media groups that provide a safe space for those in recovery or wanting to start their journey of recovery to connect online. By actively joining these meetings or support groups, you receive a sense of accountability that would be unattainable if you weren’t participating.
Focus on the present moment, the here and now. The focus is on making the best out of the present day you are living, rather than to dwell on the past or worry about what could happen in the future with an attitude of willingness, non-judgement and openness. Utilizing mindfulness to bring awareness and intention to your actions can help you navigate the thoughts, cravings or triggers that arise during this temporary period of social isolation.
Create a schedule and stick to it
When daily routines or schedules get altered it can result in increased stress and anxiety leading to a greater risk for relapse. It is important to stay busy and fill your days by creating a daily schedule to prevent boredom, non-productivity and the overwhelming feelings of isolation. Planning healthy meals, physical activity/exercise, starting a new hobby, DIY projects, journaling, meditation and reading are just a few examples of the variety of activities you can do to occupy your time and help you feel in control.
Reach out for help when you need it
If you are struggling with thoughts of drinking/using or have already relapsed, please get help! Accepting help is not a sign of weakness and does not mean failure in your battle with addiction. You never have to feel alone. Support is available in many different forms when you need to get back on track. Sobriety is a journey that inevitably will include challenges to overcome.
If you find yourself struggling with your addiction or need help staying on track during the current COVID-19 pandemic, please do not hesitate to call us at The Farm in Stouffville. Give us a call at 1-877-353-2777 or send us a message to find out more about how we can help you or your loved one today!