The ongoing pandemic of Covid-19 has caused emotional turmoil this far and is set to continue, down to the unknown concept of our future norm. Mental health diagnoses have increased, lifestyles have changed, isolation and loneliness are some of the most experienced emotions, and drinking rates have increased, even on a post-Dry January basis.
For the average person, the consequences of the pandemic have resulted in testing weeks, months and regulated lockdowns. Through these impacts, it’s easy to see how challenging lockdown life is for substance abusers, for those recovering from addiction, and for those aiming to stay sober.
We’ve seen a shift in habits, we’ve seen the development of depression and anxiety diagnoses intensify, and we’ve seen available drug and alcohol rehabilitation resources reduce.
Through this change, it’s understandable if you do feel that your relapse risks are greater, if you’re worried about the resurfacing of your drug and alcohol addiction, and if you’re desperate for help.
In tandem with professional resources, there are some steps you can take to boost your awareness of how to stay sober during the ongoing pandemic, helping you manage those risks, helping you control drug and alcohol exposure and helping you source the right support.
Learn the common reasons of relapse, currently experienced through the ongoing pandemic, along with how to support yourself through this turbulent and unfamiliar time. While easier said than done, now is the time to truly strengthen your addiction recovery capabilities, offering the capacity to stay sober, during the pandemic and our new norm.
Sobriety through the pandemic
For the average person, we’ve seen how the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol have become a significant coping strategy throughout the ongoing pandemic.
Standing as a crutch for many different reasons, consumption rates and drinking habits have increased, linked to heightened emotions, linked to boredom, linked to isolation, linked to the unknown, and linked to increased mental health symptoms.
Through the rise of drug and/or alcohol abuse, it is understandable if remaining sober through the pandemic currently feels impossible.
After all, if those without pre-existing fixations of addictive substances are struggling with following consumption guidelines, it’s easy to see how someone with pre-existing attachments may lean on substance abuse.
Yet, however difficult the lockdowns and consequences of the pandemic may be, it is important to remember how far you’ve come, how normality will at some point resume, and how your efforts to stay sober will benefit you in the future.
To strengthen your ability to stay sober, here’s some common reasons for relapse to consider, helping you form your routine, your days and your time throughout the pandemic to reduce drug and alcohol relapse risks.
Reasons for relapse
There is a wide range of reasons for relapse, which are usually very personal to the individual at hand.
However, throughout the pandemic, down to a change in our lifestyles, our livelihoods and our freedom, those reasons have been condensed and shared to increase awareness of relapse risks. If you’re experiencing any relapse risks, which can ultimately be reduced, we urge you to consider professional support.
Loneliness is one of the most commonly felt emotions throughout the ongoing pandemic, down to lockdowns and self-isolating regulations. Feeling alone can trigger old feelings, emotional wounds or even boredom, which are all linked to excessive drug and alcohol abuse.
A change in routine
Routine is very important for a recovering addict. As staying at home is now the norm, without significant social exposure, the desires to abuse drugs and alcohol are now found to increase.
Fear and worry are linked to the ongoing pandemic, down to the unknown, down to the anxieties of catching coronavirus, and down to the lack of control, we have over our futures.
Down to a shift in realities and routines, it’s easy to see how stress levels can increase. Stress is commonly linked to money worries, to unfamiliar experiences, to intense relationships, and to an overwhelming level of responsibility. Again, all are linked to the pandemic, making the prospect of staying sober hard to grasp.
All of these reasons for relapse are currently experienced by many recovering addicts, making it challenging to remain on track. However, as you’re visiting our website here at Addiction Advocates, we assume that you’re set on maintaining sobriety. Here’s how to stay sober during the ongoing pandemic with some proactive tips to maintain a healthy, positive lifestyle and mindset.
How to stay sober during the ongoing pandemic
On a generic basis, staying sober may feel like a battle, never mind the obstacle of the pandemic. However, this respite from our norms, this is an opportunity to strengthen your addiction recovery capabilities.
Here are some steps you can follow to increase your ability to stay sober.
Maintain aftercare support and virtual therapy sessions
Aftercare support will be on offer to you on a post-rehab basis. Making use of this support, along with virtual therapy sessions will be beneficial. Here you can maintain accountability, can lean on professionals for guidance, and can also overcome the uncontrollable feelings linked to the pandemic.
Keep a healthy routine
As the pandemic has diminished routine for many, this is your chance to build and maintain a healthy routine, focusing on your needs. Aim for optimal sleep, healthy nutrition, the opportunity to practice mindfulness, to set intentions for each day, and to keep busy throughout the pandemic.
Avoid drug and alcohol exposure
Avoiding drug and alcohol exposure is a significant way of how to stay sober during the ongoing pandemic. As pubs are closed, as social events are paused, as social interaction is at its minimum, this is a time to maintain a clean environment, avoiding old triggers of substance abuse.
Maintain mental clarity
It’s easy to get caught up into the turmoil of the pandemic. However, this can increase feelings of anxiety and fear, which are linked to influencing reasons of relapse. By focusing on yourself, by reducing your exposure to the news and social media, and by stopping all interaction of negativity, you can maintain mental clarity and rationalisation.
Keep connected to loved ones
Loneliness is a contributing factor towards relapse risks. Stay sober by keeping connected to loved ones and to those who inspire you, through zoom calls, through messages and through social distanced interactions when possible. Remember you can commit to a lockdown support bubble if you live alone and are struggling.
It’s important to remember that the pandemic and its consequences aren’t forever. Yet, if you’re struggling, support is still available to guide you through the obstacle of Covid-19. We at Addiction Advocates are operating, promoting suitable rehab referrals.
Remember you’re human
Giving yourself some slack will also help to reduce the pressure which is currently felt through the ongoing pandemic. Remember that you are human, that relapse risks will present themselves, and that millions of other people feel the same as you through this whirlwind.
Relapse can be worked through with a relapse prevention plan, the status of sobriety can be regained, and your ability to stay sober can be secured through your commitment.
We’re living through challenging times which are making everyday life difficult, never mind addiction recovery. If you’re struggling to any degree, we at Addiction Advocates are here for you, with advice, with reassurance and with direction on how to stay sober during the ongoing pandemic.
-  loneliness - https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/loneliness-during-coronavirus
-  drinking rates - https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/blog/who-has-been-drinking-more-than-normal-throughout-covid-19-restrictions
-  reasons for relapse - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ending-addiction-good/202006/staying-sober-during-the-pandemic
-  anxiety and fear - https://alcoholchange.org.uk/blog/2020/drinking-to-cope-stress-boredom-and-alcohol-use-during-covid-19-lockdown