The COVID-19 outbreak took everyone by surprise. In what seems like the blink of an eye, it has taken our reality and turned it over its head.
We’re all facing new challenges and struggles. And for those of you who are in recovery, you might be wondering whether you’ll be able to handle all of this and stay sober.
How do you maintain sobriety when you’re faced with the unknown? People in recovery often rely on a routine. They need predictability and stability.
However, those are things that humans can’t afford right now. Many cities in the world are in mandatory quarantine, people are obliged to stay at home and most places have been forced to close in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
This includes recovery centers and AA and NA meetings. You’re probably experiencing lots of changes in your routine that can make it seem difficult to stay sober during this time.
It’s okay to feel scared and overwhelmed. Right now, those are probably the most common feelings in the world. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we’d experience a pandemic with such implications, and none of us know what will happen next.
However, this doesn’t have to get in the way of your recovery process. In fact, there are several reasons why this can be a great opportunity to work on yourself and keep making progress. Here are 5 tips to help you stay sober during this quarantine.
1. Fill Your Time with Healthy Activities
Boredom is real, and, if you’re a recovering addict, you know it can be your worst enemy. Right now, it’s easy to find ourselves with nothing to do, so we just slip into couch potato mode and let the hours go by while binge-watching a T.V show.
It’s okay to do that sometimes, but it can’t become the norm. Because it’s during those long, empty hours that your mind starts to wander, and you start to find yourself getting unhealthy thoughts, maybe reminiscing about how good drugs or alcohol felt in your body… and that never leads to something good.
So, instead, you should try and keep your mind busy with healthy activities such as reading, learning a new skill, drawing, playing an instrument, cooking, baking, writing, among many others.
Choose a hobby that catches your attention, maybe something you’ve wanted to do for a long time but had been putting it off, watch some YouTube tutorials on how to do it, and there you go!
2. Work Out
The gyms may be closed and you can’t just go out for a run, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exercising.
And, if you’ve never exercised before, this might be a great opportunity for you to try it out. Regular physical activity has been shown to help opioid recovery, as well as recovery from other addictions.
Working out releases several chemicals in the brain that help you feel better. Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are all released during exercise and can generate an overall sense of well-being. These feelings of happiness and joy are similar to what you felt when you got drunk or high.
Besides helping you reduce your cravings for drugs or alcohol, physical activity will also help your overall health.
A great tip in order to make exercise a habit is to do it with a friend. Since, given the circumstances, you can’t do it in person, you can video call each other and do fun workout sessions together.
When was the last time you dedicated a few hours only to taking care of yourself? Life is very busy, and self-care is something we tend to overlook. It’s also very important in addiction recovery.
Being stuck at home is a great opportunity to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Self-care activities can be anything that helps you relax and feel good and happy. It may be doing a puzzle, painting your nails, playing your favorite video game, cooking your favorite meal, etc.
Self-care can help improve your mood and reduce some of the anxiety you may be feeling during the coronavirus outbreak.
4. Catch Up with Friends and Family
Paradoxically, quarantine can be a great chance to connect with your loved ones. With so many occupations, we barely ever take time to really talk to or spend time with our friends and family members in our daily life.
Addiction can really harm your relationships, and you might have pushed away people that were very important to you. Now that you have more free time, use it to reconnect with these people and strengthen your relationships.
We’re lucky we live in a time where we have so many tools and resources to communicate with loved ones. Nothing will ever replace a hug, but, right now, a video call comes pretty close.
Go ahead and give your parents, siblings, and grandparents a call. Tell them about your life and ask them about theirs. Tell them about your progress in recovery. If you have something to apologize for, now is the time to do it.
It’s always good to be reminded that you’re not alone and that there are people out there who love and support you.
5. Reach Out for Help
If things are getting a little too hard to manage on your own, you can always ask for help.
There’s no shame in reaching out. In fact, it’s probably the bravest thing you can do. You don’t want to throw away all the work you’ve done because of an external event.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend or family member, if what you need is someone to listen. If you need professional help, there are several online resources you can benefit from, like online therapy or online support groups.
You’d be surprised to know there are thousands of people going through the same thing as you who are trying to figure out how to stay sober during this quarantine; you could learn from them and support each other.
The times we’re living in are definitely not the easiest, but they will most certainly help us grow and learn from this experience.
It’s okay to feel anxious and overwhelmed, but there are many coping strategies you can use in order to make quarantine easier and help you stay sober, such as those mentioned above. We’re all rooting for you, you got this!
About The Author:
Andy Macia is a recovering drug addict/alcoholic with over 10 years of sobriety. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Los Angeles California. He is an avid rehab blogger and digital marketing entrepreneur.