Since the beginning of last year, COVID-19 has impacted everyone on the planet in unprecedented ways. Many lost their jobs, their friends and relatives, and their sense of self. Many also developed mental illnesses and began to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.
For recovering alcoholics, quarantine meant that they had to face their addiction while unable to seek comfort and help from their social networks, including sober support groups, AA sponsors, friends, and family who could keep them away from relapse.
For others, alcohol became a more frequently-used substance as a way of either coping with fear, loss, depression, or loneliness. Regardless of the reasons and specific situations, the need for addiction treatment and alcohol counseling became more prevalent than ever before.
Here are some tips for navigating through these tough times on your own:
Fight the urge
Quarantine, when coupled with current events, can be a trigger for relapse. Many people never drank to excess, but they did use alcohol as a coping mechanism and/or an escape from life’s problems. When these events occurred – such as the loss of jobs, homes, family members – some used drinking or other addictive behaviors to mask their pain and suffering instead of facing them head-on with sober support.
If you understand your triggers, you can learn to fight the urge. And if you are in a 12-step program, use your sponsor’s experience and wisdom to help guide you through tough times of temptation. A good strategy for fighting urges is a distraction – find something else to do that can take up your time.
Reach out when necessary
It’s important to remember that while we live in an increasingly remote world, we also live in a more connected one. We have instant messaging, video chats, social networks, and the ability to connect with people from all over the world through our computers or mobile devices.
Don’t be shy about reaching out as needed during these difficult times – but remember that it is imperative for you to take care of yourself first so you can continue to be a good support system for others, as well. If you need to talk with someone who is also in quarantine or recovering from their own addiction issues, there are many people out there ready and willing to help – but only if you ask them directly!
Coping with boredom without drugs can be tough when some of the outside world is shut down. But it can be done, even in quarantine. Check out your local library for free events or workshops that you could attend to take up your time while also learning something new!
Many people have even turned their hobbies into their job or started a home business during this time of crisis – but the only way they were able to do so was because they were proactive and found something to do with themselves, even in isolation.
Making plans for the future
Remind yourself that what your current situation is is just that: temporary. This is not the end of your world, even if it may feel like it. Remind yourself that you are in quarantine for a reason – because this planet needs its people to survive and rebuild society once again after COVID-19 has passed.
Take care of yourself now by writing out goals or plans for when you get out. Write out a checklist of things you want to accomplish and look at it every day while in quarantine, even if only for five minutes. This will give you some motivation and inspiration when facing the many challenges ahead.
There are many ways to navigate through these difficult times, and it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure your own mental, physical, and emotional health. You can do this with a little help from friends – even if they are virtual ones!