DETOX / RESIDENTIAL INPATIENT / AFTERCARE
Recovery During A Crisis
During this time of worldwide crisis, everyone’s will, determination, and strength has been put to the test. The effect of COVID-19 on mental health is as dangerous as the virus itself. Countries have imposed total lockdown, you cannot go outside unless it’s an emergency. Everyone’s routines have been shaken up, and people are finding it difficult to cope up with the stress and panic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wellbeing of people in recovery is at more risk than before. Before this pandemic shook the world, these people had their routine and schedule that helped them stay away from their previous lifestyle of substance abuse. We are all living in difficult times, consistent efforts with strong motives can help us succeed.
People fighting their way to recovery have also had their schedule completely changed, with an added disadvantage of the negative effects of stress and panic. Therefore, they can no longer depend on their routine that once provided much-needed structure for their sober lifestyle. Visits to the therapists and peer support groups have all been moved to by-phone or online video conferencing platforms. The feeling of being isolated is daunting, especially for addicts.
Those who have battled with addiction know how much worse substance abuse can get if there is no one to ask questions and impose restrictions. Distractions as small as a visit to the grocery store, daily working routine, stands very helpful in fighting the urge to drink and abuse more. Now, without these normalcies of daily life, recovering addicts have found themselves without structure and routine.
The boredom we are all facing can be dangerous. And the longer you sit alone with your thoughts, the risk of negativity seeping into your thoughts will rise. Eight Row chef and recovered addict David Nichols had this to say in an article in the Seattle Eater: “The challenges of feeling isolated are daunting, especially for addicts. The times when my drinking was at its worst, I wouldn’t go out to bars — it was me drinking alone in my apartment. The addict in me was at its best when alone, because no one was around to question it or offer some kind of distraction from it, and I could continue to drink uninhibited, slipping deeper into despair and self-loathing.” This is true for many addicts, which is why it is important that you stay connected to others and to doing things that keep your mind busy in a healthy way.
It is imperative to keep in touch with people during these uncertain times. We can get the best out of technology that we have at our disposal, and connect with anyone, at any time, from anywhere. There are various platforms where it is easy to chat with friends or even therapists so that you don’t feel alone and isolated anymore. Also, social media (when used in small doses) allows us to stay connected with other people and the world beyond the boundaries of our countries, states, or even cities.
As we cope with coronavirus, it is crucial for those in recovery to follow the well-worn phrase: taking it one step at a time. The current situation is similar to when you first opted for sobriety. It will demand a complete collapse of the routine and behaviors you were previously dependent on. You changed everything back then, you will have to now as well. Dealing with the current crisis, it would not be easy to change and be consistent with the new habits. However, accepting and adapting to life on its own terms can help a lot.
You may have something that you could lose during the time this pandemic persists. Be it a business, your job, or anything that can force you to relapse. We all have something to lose and it scares us to the core. But surrendering to the fear is only going to make the situation worse. If you accept your failure, consider it a part of your journey, and pledge to work hard once all of it gets over, you’d appreciate this decision when you’ll look back. The world is crumbling beneath our feet and each passing day reminds us the same, but to stay strong and have a hope to hold on to, will take us all through this.
For all those who are confused and unsure of how to overcome this, hang in there. Reach out to people, dig deeper to find solutions, search for things that make you happy. Remember when we talk to someone, we are not only helping ourselves but are giving hope to them as well. The point is to adapt and blend into new habits, new routines, and a completely new mindset.
This quarantine period is giving us all an opportunity to tackle thoughts that tend to control our mind when we are alone and isolated. Make a strict routine, stay healthy, and distract your mind to do something and keep it busy. Just don’t hand over your sobriety to these unprecedented times. You have worked really hard for this, don’t let it all go for nothing. Just hang in there. This too shall pass.