Your Guide to Staying Sober During a Pandemic
For many in recovery, the ability to connect with others is what keeps us accountable. Regular 12-step meetings and check-ins with our support networks ensure that we do not relapse in our daily lives. In just a few short weeks, the novel coronavirus has completely changed the landscape: due to social distancing measures, we can no longer gather in groups. This has caused some people to panic, asking, “How will we protect our sobriety without meetings? How do we cope with increased levels of isolation?” Luckily, with the right plan and a positive mindset, it’s completely possible to avoid relapse during COVID-19. Today, we’ll present you with Pine Grove’s guide to staying sober during a pandemic.
Create a Routine
As the days pass and new information is released, it seems the only certainty is uncertainty. It’s easy to feel disoriented during this time; one primary reason for this is the loss of our usual schedules. Most of us wake up, get ready, go to work, meet up with friends, attend a meeting, go home, unwind, and head to bed at roughly the same times each day. In the wake of “safer at home” orders and mandated self-quarantine, this has been eliminated. Instead, many people find themselves at home, some working and some unemployed, without a definite end date in sight.
In sobriety, routine is paramount: it provides us with structure and security in our daily lives. Create your own pandemic-specific schedule that will guide you in the days ahead. Try to include little wins, like showering, making your bed, or eating on a normal schedule. Even though this may seem basic, it can make an incredible difference in your mental health and perception of each day.
Get Involved Online
Luckily, we live in a time of technological advancement, meaning that you can still access recovery resources from the comfort of your own home. In response to the pandemic and its corresponding social distancing orders, many 12-step groups have gone fully remote. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have both set up virtual meeting rooms online. You can also join these groups by phone. Stay in touch with your usual group throughout this process too; they may create an alternative meeting plan through the above resources.
Reach Out to Friends and Family
Sometimes the simplest way to alleviate anxiety, depression, or cravings is to pick up the phone and call a loved one. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or family member when you’re feeling upset in self-quarantine. Just hearing their voice can help to ground you in the present moment. Try scheduling regular video calls for a change of pace; this can be a fun, novel way to pass the time. By battling feelings of isolation, you’ll overcome one of the biggest obstacles of self-quarantine.
Adjust Your Media Diet
Today, most of us find ourselves glued to our phones, computers, and televisions for the latest updates about COVID-19. If you think the seemingly endless stream of statistics and research is exhausting, you’re not alone; psychologists recommend managing your media exposure during this stressful time. Instead of constantly refreshing, set a specific time each day that you will consume new, validated information about the coronavirus. Avoiding overexposure and being intentional about what you read can help you avoid a COVID-19 anxiety spiral.
Staying sober during a pandemic can be challenging. In addition to isolation, boredom is a key risk factors for relapse, so it’s critical that you find entertaining ways to spend your time in self-quarantine. Don’t lay around the house without a plan; this is a recipe for your mind to start romanticizing the idea of using again. Whether you choose to reread a favorite book or teach yourself a new hobby, there are plenty of constructive uses for your time at home.
Seek Professional Help
If you become overwhelmed during the pandemic, help is available. Treatment centers like Pine Grove are open and accepting new patients, guided by CDC and WHO policies regarding sanitization and screening for COVID-19. This means that for those who relapse, inpatient treatment is still available. For those who would like additional support from home, it is also possible to receive therapy sessions or outpatient treatment remotely. Teletherapy and telehealth services are available from many reputable organizations. Pine Grove has also launched a support line for those in the greater Hattiesburg area who are struggling during COVID-19; call 1-888-574-4673 to speak with someone today.
To learn more about staying sober during a pandemic, contact Pine Grove’s compassionate admissions team. We’ll help you to build a plan for the uncertain days ahead.