Why COVID-19 Is Making It Harder to Kick Your Addiction (and How to Resist)
If you’re struggling with sobriety and addiction, we probably don’t have to tell you how hard it’s been to stay straight during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you’ve even relapsed in the past year of stay-home orders and social distancing. If someone tells you they think you’re just making excuses, ask them to think again – because studies are showing that the stress and isolation of the pandemic have led to an increase in substance use.
COVID-19 precautions also are contributing to an increase in drug overdoses, with more than 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related deaths, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).
Understanding how COVID-19 might affect your struggle with drug abuse or alcohol abuse can help you stick to your recovery plan during these difficult times.
Coping During COVID
According to one report, the pandemic has made people more susceptible to substance abuse, addiction, and relapse. Here are the main reasons why according to experts:
If you need other people to help get you through drug rehab and recovery, social distancing rules probably make you feel anxious. Your counseling facility may have closed because of staff reductions in the recession. Your local community hall where your 12-Step program met may not allow groups to meet there anymore. Group therapy and 12-Stepping on Zoom aren’t the same, and no one can hug you online.
Be careful not to use drugs or alcohol to cope with the loneliness, especially if you’re alone. If you suddenly start drinking or drugging after a long period of abstinence, you could overdose on a lot less than you used to handle. You’ll need someone there if you get into trouble.
You’ve lost your job, or they’ve cut your hours, and you’re worried about paying your bills. Are you working for a meal-delivery service and worried about catching COVID-19? Have you lost someone you loved to COVID? If it’s all starting to pile on, you may be tempted to ease the pressure with “just one” drink.
Don’t. Use the strategies you learned in rehab or your last group meeting and stay strong.
Losing your job doesn’t just mean losing money. If you derived a lot of your identity from your work, who are you now? How will you prove to the world that you matter?
Resolve not to tie up your whole world in one source of fulfillment. While you’re job hunting, also plan to spend time looking for new hobbies or diversions that will keep you too busy to drink or use drugs. Activities that keep your hands occupied like photography, woodworking, learning a musical instrument can be the most effective, and the finished work can give you a real sense of pride.
Feeling Pandemic Panic? Here’s Help
Knowing that isolation can often lead to substance abuse, Muse Treatment professionals understand the importance of addiction treatment during these difficult times. Interactive with other people is an important aspect of long-term recovery. If you’re feeling so stressed and isolated that you find yourself falling back into addiction, don’t hesitate to call for help at 800-426-1818 to learn about our addiction treatment options.