Dealing With Addiction While in Isolation
Overcoming addiction is one of the hardest things anyone can do in their life. Recovery takes persistence, patience, and an unwavering drive to improve one’s own life. Addiction can be a struggle that affects relationships, financial security, and both physical and mental health severely with no regard for social status or socio-economic standing.
Social distancing guidelines and shelter in place orders have made it far more difficult to deal with addiction and even though many states are beginning the process of opening back up, things are likely to remain difficult for the weeks and months to come.
Fortunately, the battle with addiction doesn’t have to be a losing one even in these trying times, and there are many ways to manage and overcome addiction despite the isolation being experienced across the country.
Why Isolation Makes Addiction That Much Worse
While the social distancing measures and shelter in place orders that have been in effect for the past several weeks have certainly been instrumental in flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections, they have also had unintended consequences on those battling with their addiction.
The isolation brought on by these measures can be a trigger for drug and alcohol abuse in those with addiction disorders and it has also made it especially difficult to maintain sobriety through participation in 12 step programs.
Staying inside all day seeing the same things within a home over and over can affect anyone’s mental health but the anxiety that one person might brush off could lead to relapse for someone with substance abuse disorders. Additionally, without a healthy support system in place, the feelings of loneliness that are already inherent in addiction are amplified further.
It is important that someone going through recovery takes the time to make their living space as comfortable as possible in order to create a relaxing environment that can help to offset the stress and anxiety that comes from being cooped up inside for weeks on end.
Not only is the COVID-19 pandemic making sobriety difficult for those overcoming addiction, but it is also increasing the dangers associated with recovery and relapse.
Opioid overdoses already claim around 130 lives every day in America and that number is likely to increase significantly due to the fact that if an opioid user does relapse and suffers from an overdose there won’t be anyone around to call the paramedics to administer life-saving measures.
Additionally, without access to medical treatment facilities, the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction and alcoholism can be fatal.
There Are Still Ways To Get Help From Home
There are endless reasons to overcome addiction from reconnecting with family and old friends to regaining independence through the rebuilding of a professional career and making lasting improvements to health and wellbeing.
The ability to accomplish this, while made more difficult by the social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect due to COVID-19, is not impossible in the current situation. Even though everyone might be effectively stuck in their homes, it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to get help in recovering from addiction.
It is important to understand that there are a huge number of resources available online for those looking to deal with their addiction once and for all. There are numerous forums for self-help related to addiction and many 12 step programs are now holding online meetings to help those in need during the pandemic.
While those dealing with addiction might feel alone during all of this the fact is that there are people waiting to offer a hand to help maintain sobriety and recovery from addiction.
Telehealth is booming during the COVID-19 pandemic and for good reason. Not only do telehealth treatment options for addiction help to reduce the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19, but they are also extremely effective and can provide access to treatment for those who live in remote areas or are in an at-risk group and would be unable to attend even after the lifting of social distancing and shelter in place orders.
Fighting Addiction Without Access To Rehabilitation Facilities
For some, waiting until social distancing and shelter in place orders have been lifted to begin their journey towards sobriety isn’t an option. It should be noted that while checking into a rehabilitation facility can improve the likelihood that addiction will be overcome and reduce the chances of future relapse, it is entirely possible to stop drug addiction without rehab.
Before anyone attempts to achieve sobriety on their own, they should be aware that withdrawal from certain substances like alcohol or opioids can indeed be fatal and should be dealt with in a medical setting for maximum safety.
Dealing with addiction alone requires planning, patience, determination, and unwavering responsibility. Once a proper plan is formed, it should be implemented in manageable steps with the time taken to evaluate outcomes as they occur.
While there is no perfect plan for overcoming addiction and no one should feel ashamed if they relapse on the road to sobriety, going it alone isn’t impossible in the slightest.
A great strategy for long-term success in self-recovery is to develop and implement positive methods for coping with the inevitable substance cravings that will set in. Practicing mindfulness when experiencing cravings can help someone to better understand what triggers their cravings so that they can avoid situations that would cause an onset of cravings.
Getting involved in a new hobby or taking the time to cook healthy meals and engage in regular exercise are also excellent ways to deal with addiction cravings on the road to recovery.
Isolation due to COVID-19 certainly won’t last forever, but for those that choose to continue or start their journey toward sobriety, recovery has the opportunity to be a lifelong joy.