The COVID-19 outbreak has been an unprecedented crisis. In the span of a few weeks, Americans have been asked to stay home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. While it’s important that we all do our parts in keeping each other healthy, this extended time at home can be challenging for those in recovery from substance abuse issues. The stress of financial uncertainty, extra free time, and anxiety around the pandemic can all make drugs and alcohol a tempting outlet. However, it is possible to stay sober during a quarantine. Once you know the available resources, you can take the steps you need to maintain your sobriety.
Why It’s Important to Stay Sober During Quarantine
If you are in recovery from substance abuse, you have worked hard to get where you are. Detoxing and the initial days of recovery are challenging for a number of reasons, including physical discomfort and cravings for drugs or alcohol. Relapsing can cause you to have to go through detox again, which is especially challenging to do alone. However, isolation and boredom can be a trigger for relapse. To stay sober during a quarantine, you should understand the causes of substance abuse and develop healthy coping skills.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining good physical health and a strong immune system is especially important. Substance abuse can cause health problems that the coronavirus could further complicate, such as respiratory illness. And while drugs or alcohol can numb feelings of depression or anxiety for a time, they can exacerbate mental health issues in the long run.
Some people in recovery do not have a support system at home, which can make maintaining sobriety difficult. In this situation, virtual support can be the difference between staying sober and relapsing.
How to Maintain Sobriety in Isolation
In-person support is valuable for many in recovery from substance abuse. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous provide both social interaction and tools for recovery. Although in-person meetings for 12-step programs and individual counseling might not be possible right now, many online options exist. Some ways to maintain sobriety in isolation include:
- Telemedicine either over the phone or through video calls with a doctor
- Virtual 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous
- Individual counseling over Zoom or Skype
- Connecting with friends and family with phone calls and video conferencing
- Focusing on what is in your control and not out of your control, like keeping others safe through social distancing
- Using this time for productive tasks like decluttering or cleaning
- Taking on a hobby like playing the guitar, baking bread, or creative outlets
Exercise can also be a helpful tool to stay sober during quarantine. While under stress from lost income, isolation, and anxiety about the coronavirus, some may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. However, coping through substance abuse can cause more problems down the road. Exercise can actually relieve stress. Although gyms are closed, many fitness classes are available online. Even if you can’t go for a walk with a friend, take this time to FaceTime while walking around the neighborhood. And since exercise releases endorphins, this outlet can help you manage cravings for drugs or alcohol.
Online Resources to Stay Sober During Quarantine
WeRecover can help connect you with addiction treatment centers that offer virtual counseling and telemedicine. While we may have to stay isolated in our homes, you don’t have to go through recovery alone. Right now, many others are also working to stay sober during the quarantine. Find the support you need, whether through group therapy, individual counseling, or a 12-step program by contacting us today.