Addiction Recovery & the Pandemic
Here we are, two years into the coronavirus pandemic, and many of us are still working from home, still quarantining as needed, and still doing our best to stay healthy. But even if you’re staying physically well, the pandemic has probably taken an emotional, mental, and psychological toll–especially for those who are in addiction recovery or supporting a loved one in their sober journey.
What are some ways to monitor mental health and stay positive and connected in sobriety during this latest round of COVID-19?
First, do a stress check.
You can start by consulting the Pandemic Stress Index survey. It asks questions like what specific elements of the pandemic affect you most acutely, how your daily responsibilities have increased or decreased, and how much these changes impact your well-being.
With the information that the index provides, you can be better equipped to find solutions, ask for help, and stay healthy. You can use the tools you learned in treatment to be proactive in managing your stress levels before they get out of control.
Second, stay connected.
It’s no secret that it’s been difficult to find support in recovery as the pandemic continues to drag on. The cancellation on a global scale of face-to-face counseling and group meetings for people with substance abuse disorders has been a difficult challenge to navigate.
Online options for connecting with others and getting professional treatment abound, but it’s easy to understand if you’re tired of web meetings at the moment. Still, our advice is to stay the course. The pandemic is something we cannot control, so rather than getting stuck in frustration or anger about what we’ve lost, it’s better to focus on what we can do to help ourselves get the support we need.
One way to do this is to contact us at St. Gregory’s for more information on the resources we can offer you virtually in the way of support, advice, and friendship.
Third, get out as much as is safely possible.
Find as many healthy avenues as possible to pursue out of the house: daily walks around your own neighborhood or on nearby hiking trails; workouts at a gym or yoga studio that follows safety protocols; gatherings at friends’ houses or even dining out together if you all feel comfortable doing so. You might also use this time to find an AA sponsor and develop that relationship, taking your coffee thermos to a park to enjoy some face-to-face time together.
Fourth, nurture your spirituality.
There’s nothing like a pandemic to bring you face-to-face with yourself. The time of relative isolation can be seen as an opportunity to get more comfortable with your own company. Exercises like journaling for self-awareness, practicing mindfulness, beginning a daily meditation practice, or exploring your creativity are all excellent ways to nurture your spiritual side.
Some of these practices might lead to questions or emotions that seem too big to deal with alone. If this happens, take it as a good sign–a sign that you’re doing important spiritual work. If you don’t already have a therapist, this would be a great time to find professional support. Having someone you trust who will keep your discussions confidential is a crucial part of personal growth.
Finally–during the pandemic, and always–address relapse head-on, without shame.
There is no shame in experiencing a relapse when you have a chronic illness such as addiction. If relapse happens, or feels imminent, reach out for help. Return to treatment so you can get back on track quickly.
St. Gregory Is Always Ready to Help
St. Gregory Recovery Center can help you fine-tune your recovery plan so that it works better for your current situation. Call us and speak with one of our admissions counselors about our many options for individualized, compassionate care.