Staying sober isn’t always a walk in the park. It can be difficult to consistently resort to healthy coping mechanisms after years and years of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. When an addict or alcoholic gets sober, he or she must learn a completely new way of living.
Fortunately, those who once struggled with alcoholism or addiction and have since undergone a long-term treatment program are likely equipped with all of the tools they need to stay sober. Yet when major life changes or significant events occur, remembering to resort to healthy coping mechanisms isn’t always easy. The recent coronavirus outbreak has caused everyone a significant amount of stress and fear, especially for recovering addicts, whether or not the virus has affected them directly.
Many people across the country have been laid off or furloughed from their jobs, everyone is in a state of financial insecurity, and the extra precautions that everyone is taking to stay safe and healthy can be frightening and overwhelming. It truly does feel like we’re walking around in some unsettling dystopian future, where everyone is wearing masks and gloves and avoiding all in-person contact. The current social climate can be especially tough for those in addiction recovery – those who rely on peer support and connectedness to stay sober.
Experts Agree – A Hard Time for Recovering Addicts
Multiple major news sources have recently published articles focused on how those in addiction recovery are handling the COVID-19 outbreak. Multiple addiction specialists have been interviewed and have offered valuable insight into what steps those in recovery need to take to stay sober during such an unstable and emotionally tumultuous time.
Overall, it was confirmed that rates of relapse are especially high right now; recovering addicts and alcoholics are having trouble staying connected, and they are resorting back to unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-medication. It’s more clear than ever before that social support and networking are essential to maintaining sobriety. Some of the addiction specialists who were interviewed described a list of resources for those who might be struggling to keep their heads above water.
Staying Sober During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The resources listed include:
- Read recovery-oriented literature daily.
- Join Zoom 12 step meetings (and other virtual meetings, which happen daily)!
- Engage in healthy hobbies.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings.
- Get creative – partake in arts and crafts.
- Don’t forget to practice prayer and meditation daily.
- Do whatever you can to stay in the present moment.
At Garden State Treatment Center, we understand how trying this time can be for those in addiction recovery. We are able and willing to assist our clients in any way possible – not just our past clients, but our future clients as well. Even if you aren’t fully sold on recovery but are interested in changing your way of life, we are available to talk. Our team of compassionate counselors, therapists, and medical professionals is standing by to answer any and every question you might have.
We are dedicated to offering continuous support, and helping you get through this tough time with the support and guidance that you both need and deserve. Remember that everything is temporary and that it’s important for you to do all you can to stay involved. Call your sponsor, join a virtual meeting and share about your struggles or your triumphs, read an excerpt from the Big Book, draw a picture… do whatever you need to do to keep yourself happy and sane in this time of isolation and mandatory social distancing. For more resources or additional encouragement, give us a call today.
Dr. Michael Gannon, DO