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Facing Another Lockdown Quarantine: How to Stay Clean This Time Around

Dice saying to stay home and stay safe during lockdown

As COVID-19 continues to rock the world, we continue witnessing the devastation that’s left in its wake. While many of us are dealing with the loss of a loved one, battling financial problems due to job loss, or recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, we are all trying to get by during these unprecedented times. Unfortunately, as another round of lockdown quarantines are imposed by states, you might be wondering how much more your mental health can tolerate.

Despite the positive news of a potential vaccine, COVID-19 continues its deadly rampage worldwide. Most states show figures that are also trending in the wrong direction. The strain on our hospitals and healthcare workers is undeniable, and they have been overwhelmed at times. Although these lockdowns are necessary to slow the spread and ease the burden of our frontline workers, they’ve caused unique challenges for the recovery community. Relapse rates are becoming a significant area of concern as drug overdoses continue to soar to numbers we’re not accustomed to seeing. 

As we venture into the unknown and face another round of lockdowns that may have life-changing effects, those struggling with addiction need to learn how to deal with these peculiar times. If you live in a city that is locked down or preparing for another, you might be wondering how you can stay clean this time around. We’ve provided some ways to safeguard your sobriety below. 

You Must Stay Connected With Others During Lockdowns

If you’re going through recovery or someone interested in getting help, it’s important to remember that connection is among the most vital pieces of recovery. Developing social bonds and community connections are crucial for many reasons, such as driving you away from the feeling that overwhelms you when you’re isolated, which could eat away at your mental health. If you feel alone or cut off from the world, you’re causing damage to your mental health. When you connect with others, they will help you feel like you’re a part of something bigger because these connections will shower you with companionship. 

When you experience community connection, you know you’re part of something more significant in this world, helping you to create value in yourself and a support system of accountability. When you connect to others, you make deep bonds, and your peers begin to care about what happens to you. When it comes to meetings, you’ll be expected to show up and maintain contact so that your friends know how you are. This is also true when it comes to your family or being employed. When you don’t show up, someone will check on you and hold you to a high standard. Unfortunately, this is hard to maintain during quarantine.

When you spend time in a treatment setting, you go through group therapy sessions to build social skills. You likely will attend 12-step meetings regularly. When you’re stuck in lockdown, it’s impossible to meet with others and check on one another. However, quarantine doesn’t mean total isolation.

With the advances in technology, it’s possible to chat by video, talk through social media, and use online tools to connect with friends, family members, and coworkers. One other thing to keep in mind is that you can’t call someone just once during lockdown. You must make repeated attempts to get in contact with your friends and family. 

Idle Time Can Cause Relapse

The old saying of “idle hands are the devil’s playground” is meant to promote productivity. It points out a crucial truth that idleness may cause your mind to wander. If you feel bored, it’s natural to look for something to do. Whether you’re mindlessly scrolling through your social media or doing something else, those in recovery may be battling their cravings and triggers, which could lead to relapse. 

Boredom is a miserable emotional state bringing feelings of discontentment. As you might expect with any negative emotion, your brain will find ways toward positive stimulation, by all means necessary. For a person in recovery, their reward centers are conditioned to seek alcohol and drugs as something positive. Only through a continued focus to heal, new coping techniques, and help from others can the person resist their urge to use. 

These COVID-19 lockdowns have left us with little to do and our minds to wander. We have nowhere to go, no deadlines to meet, and no expectations at all. When you pair this with an economic downturn and worldwide pandemic, it’s not uncommon to see people relapse for comfort. No matter the circumstance, you must fill your day with purpose. It might be something simple like taking a new class online, learning how to bake, or catching up with an old friend. These are positive means of coping with lockdown without running to drugs or alcohol. It will help you avoid boredom and idle time. 

You Need To Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress isn’t always bad, and in some cases, it might even cause you to take action, fuel productivity, and stay alert. Stress is helping you take this virus seriously and follow the guidelines in place. On the other hand, stress may cause detrimental effects on your health, leading to heart disease, diabetes, sleep problems, and mental health problems like anxiety and depression. 

You’ll have trouble maintaining sobriety if you don’t manage your stress effectively in quarantine. There are many ways that you can address your stress and anxiety relating to this pandemic, such as limiting social media and news intake, preparing your family, and following the latest COVID-19 prevention practices. 

Exercise is another way to battle stress because it requires physical effort. Other methods include meditation, mental tasks that help cope with stress, and reading. If you’re dealing with stress, your mind is likely filled with anxiety, and it’s hard to focus on your life. 

Stress management techniques, such as a consistent sleep schedule, is a must. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of adults won’t get the recommended amount of sleep. Although you won’t find much trouble sleeping during quarantine, you may struggle to achieve consistent or restful sleep. With no work or anything to do, you’re probably staying up longer and sleeping in much later.  

How To Help Others

Going through the recovery process allows you to learn the value of a connection. You do this by listening to others’ problems and act as a support group. It is mutually beneficial to support someone else because you build relationships that create systems of support. Being part of 12-step programs and group therapy sessions force you out of your mind to listen to others. It’s imperative that you take the time to reach out and ask others how they are doing. By doing so, it’ll improve your time in lockdown and make all the difference for someone else. We understand the challenges we are facing, but try to make this a positive outcome and put your time to good use.

Sources

American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

CDC. (2020, April 15). CDC – Sleep Home Page – Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html

National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). 12-Step Facilitation Therapy (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opiates). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-4

Hicks, T. (2020, March 23). How People in Addiction Recovery Are Dealing with COVID-19 … Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/coronavirus-isolation-can-be-difficult-for-people-with-addictions

Author

Sebastian Gonzalez

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