The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to people across the globe. Social distancing and isolation while staying at home can be difficult. When you are in addiction recovery, these challenges can become even more pronounced. The effects of the coronavirus can understandably make it more difficult to stay in recovery. To keep yourself and others healthy, though, it will help you to understand more about relapse prevention during a pandemic.
Relapse is Not Failure
The first thing to understand about relapse in recovery is that it does not mean that you or your addiction treatment have failed. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a chronic disease. In recovery, you have found ways to shift your behaviors and thought processes to overcome the effects of that disease. In the isolation and anxiety caused by the coronavirus outbreak, though, you are more susceptible to triggers that may cause a relapse.
Acknowledge the Stress
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new stress, generally never seen before in most people. You are facing an unfamiliar environment in which you are not allowed to do the things you would normally do in your everyday life. Your normal addiction treatment sessions may also have been shifted online or to telehealth sessions. You feel alone, anxious, and depressed.
April is, coincidentally, Stress Awareness Month. This is a good time to acknowledge the stress you are feeling and to take steps to alleviate it in a positive way. It is not a good time to revert to your use of drugs or alcohol to overcome the effects of isolation.
Experts urge you to stay home to avoid getting and spreading the coronavirus, but you may feel that staying home will increase your feelings of depression and anxiety as you move through your recovery from addiction. Acknowledging these feelings and reaching out to your support network to share your stress can be effective methods for relapse prevention during a pandemic.
If you have a history of drug or alcohol use, you may be more susceptible to COVID-19, as you are more likely to have a weakened immune system and possibly other infections such as hepatitis C. In addition, people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and methamphetamine use disorder may also be vulnerable due to those drugs’ effects on respiratory and pulmonary health. So, as an addict in recovery it is especially important for you to follow the guidelines for staying safe and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stay Connected with Others
Even if you cannot be with your friends and family physically, you should stay connected as a key to relapse prevention during a pandemic. Throughout your recovery, it’s important to maintain relationships with those people in your life who are a positive influence and support for you.
When you have to stay at home, you can still connect using online platforms such as Skype or Zoom, where you can see the faces of the people you’re talking to, as well as through simple phone calls and emails or text messages. Use technology to stay connected and to reach out when you are stressed or anxious about your situation.
When you need to reach out to a support group, you can still do so. Use online resources to join a virtual meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and 12-Step meetings. Relapse prevention during a pandemic depends on you making the effort to talk to others about your stress, your triggers, and your cravings when they occur. Continue to take advantage of the support of others who are experiencing these same challenges.
Focus on Positive Activities
Staying focused while in recovery takes effort. Staying focused while staying at home during COVID-19 takes extra effort. When you are able to prevent a relapse and continue on your healthy journal, however, all the effort will be worth it.
Take the time now to develop some positive activities for your daily life. Find a workout video so you can keep physically fit at home. If you have an appropriate place to walk, get outside and get some fresh air as well as exercise. Use care to stay away from others who might be doing the same. Work in some time daily for meditation or yoga that can help reduce your stress and anxiety.
Intensive Healing for Relapse Prevention
At Makana Path, we are focused on intensive healing. We understand the challenges of staying at home and social distancing during COVID-19. We specialize in treating chronic relapsers and those who identify as treatment-resistant and are here to support you through a positive, successful recovery. To learn more about our intensive healing program, contact Makana Path today by calling 1-866-922-0776.