Individuals managing a substance or alcohol addiction face challenges every day when it comes to maintaining their recovery. Many of the principles of recovery depend on physical interactions with mentors, health care providers, friends, support groups and other networks. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit physical interactions in many places across the country, people struggling with addiction should seek alternatives to help maintain their addiction recovery.
Here are six tips for maintaining recovery during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Check in with your support network. The pandemic has forced us to adapt to virtual or physically distanced gatherings with family, friends, colleagues and other important people in our lives. People in recovery depend greatly on trusted support networks, so it is important to establish regular communication with these groups so you can stay connected, even when COVID-19 prevents you from physically being together. Set up a regular weekly Skype or Zoom chat with your close friends, or join an already established virtual support group so you can talk about your journey with peers. Ask your CleanSlate clinician for more information and resources.
- Be aware of your triggers and minimize risky behavior. Isolation can be especially difficult for people in recovery. For some, feelings of anxiety and hopelessness are compounded by conversations happening in the news and on social networks. If you find yourself getting stressed out or depressed by what you see on Facebook or in the news, take time to unplug. Delete apps from your phone when you tend to spend too much time-consuming media that doesn’t make you feel good. Being aware of how you are feeling and recognizing negative behaviors can help you avoid practices that threaten your recovery (see Addiction Recovery is Not Linear. It's Important Not to Give Up).
- Stick to a routine and set daily goals. This can be hard when the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted so many of our usual routines, but it is important to adapt and ensure you are still having positive, productive days. Try setting goals for each day, whether that’s getting outside for a walk, cleaning out a cabinet or closet you’ve neglected, writing in a gratitude journal for a few minutes or spending time cooking a healthy meal. Making a to-do list with even just one or two items per day can give you a goal to work towards and keep you feeling accomplished.
- Take up a new hobby or practice an old one. Many people report the pandemic has led them to try something new or explore an interest they didn’t have time for before. If you’ve always wanted to try painting or spend more time gardening, now might be a good time to revisit those passions! Hobbies can also help channel feelings of restlessness and provide positive distractions on days when recovery is tough.
- Prioritize self-care. Living through a pandemic is hard. It’s important to recognize the challenges and make time for exercise, like taking a walk, bike ride or yoga session. This will benefit both your physical and mental health. Taking time to be mindful of your needs is critical to maintaining recovery.
- Get in touch with your health care provider. Many providers have expanded their services to better address the challenges of the pandemic. Make sure you know how to get in contact with your provider and how to get help if you need it.
CleanSlate remains open and telehealth options are available. Call 888-505-HOPE or contact the center closest to you to make an appointment. For more information about CleanSlate’s response to the coronavirus, visit cleanslatecenters.com/en/coronavirus.