The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in March 2020 and has caused many to stay in quarantine for the safety of themselves and others from the risk of exposure to the virus. For those who are in recovery from addiction, this time has been quite difficult for a number of reasons. These include the constant memes and jokes about day drinking and drinking at home to cope with the pandemic, the anxiety related to COVID-19, being surrounded by constant negative news, and more. Mental health has taken a real hit and it is not hard to see why. Staying sober during this time is difficult, and if you have relapsed during these uncertain times, do not beat yourself up. There are things you can do to rectify the situation, and what you decide to do next matters most. Here are tips for coping with a relapse during quarantine so you can get back to living a happy and healthy sober life.
One Mistake Doesn’t Erase Progress
It can be easy to give up on sobriety altogether when you have already relapsed. However, you don’t have to give up and you shouldn’t. Your relapsing does not erase all of the work you did to get sober. Remember all of the times that you spent coping with your demons to get to where you are today. Take the next step and recommit to your recovery and sobriety. Motivate yourself to stick with it.
Take a Moment to Reflect
Think about what led to this moment that caused you to relapse. Think about what you could’ve done to prevent it from happening. If you need help, look up a list of relapse prevention techniques and see which one could have helped. From there, you can implement these strategies to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future.
Normally when it comes to relapse prevention, professionals recommend identifying your triggers. However, because of COVID-19, you should add to the list the different quarantine triggers that can lead to relapse. These are special to this situation and should be taken seriously because they can add further stress on top of your general triggers. Identifying them can help you be prepared for when you encounter them. Quarantine triggers can include:
- Increased stressed
- Anxiety or depression
- Feelings of loneliness
- Financial problems related to the pandemic
- Toxic family in quarantine
Contact Your Sponsor
Staying connected to those that have been through recovery and can encourage you in your sobriety is an important step in handling relapse and relapse triggers during the quarantine. While you may not be able to see your sponsor or sober buddies, contact them if you need encouragement, someone to empathize with, or someone to just listen. Another benefit of contacting your sober network is they can hold you accountable after your relapse to make sure you stay on track.
Have a Routine
A structured routine is often recommended by addiction treatment and mental health experts because it keeps you busy and productive. If you are one of the individuals who unfortunately lost their job due to COVID-19, having a lack of structure can be detrimental to your recovery and sobriety. Put together a daily routine that you can follow that includes a consistent sleep schedule, time to prepare and eat healthy meals, and more. You should also include exercise in your routine at least three times a week. Keep a list to keep track of your responsibilities and see your progress as you complete each activity.
Just as a routine keeps you busy, you should fill in any gaps of free time with activities that distract you. Boredom is a common relapse trigger, which is why relapsing during quarantine has become so common for many individuals in recovery. If you find yourself with large gaps of time in your day, fill them with new hobbies, school, cooking, etc. You can learn a new language, read that book that’s been sitting on yourself forever, or whatever will be enjoyable that you can distract yourself with.
Have a Relapse Prevention Plan
Just because you are stuck in quarantine does not mean that relapse is inevitable. Having a relapse prevention plan can keep you on track and give you tips for staying sober during quarantine. Your plan should include identified triggers, coping mechanisms, the number of your sponsor, links to online support groups, ways to work on your recovery on your own, hobbies to keep you busy, and more. The goal is to give you quick ideas to help you cope when you are feeling down and at risk of relapsing. This plan will be extremely helpful and can hold you accountable in your recovery.
The global pandemic that hit in March 2020 has caused many individuals to be stuck inside their homes in quarantine without work and with lots of free time. Unfortunately, this had led to an increase in relapses for recovering addicts. However, quarantine does not mean that relapse is inevitable. You can take the proper steps to pick yourself up after a relapse to keep your recovery on track and recommit to staying sober. It is important to remember that the choices you make after a relapse are critical because they determine which way your life will go. A relapse does not erase your progress. Keep moving forward and take an account of what led you to relapse. Then, you can create a plan to help with those triggers next time. You should also keep yourself busy and stay connected with sober buddies to hold you accountable. If you or something you know has relapsed during quarantine or is at risk of relapse, call Northstar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400. We are here to help!