Coronavirus has changed our lives in hundreds of ways over the past few weeks. It’s hard to even guess the many more major life changes we as a nation and society will experience even by the time you read this. Social distancing is a phrase none of us had even heard before just a few short weeks ago, and now it is used frequently by all. People have lost jobs, children are out of school, and everyone is trying to stay positive while moving forward collectively day by day during the largest pandemic the modern world has ever seen.
During coronavirus, everyone is thinking of the elderly, the children, and the immunocompromised among us and most are doing all that we can to keep ourselves and everyone else safe. Everyone is also thinking of the medical staff, food workers, relief workers, and police officers that are out there on the front lines helping us as well. We are all offering support, hope, thanks, and shoulders to cry on to our loved ones as we all move forward in uncertainty as this all unfolds.
Some of us are also thinking often of those we love who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. There is no question that the vast majority of people on earth right now are experiencing at least some stress; for many, this level of stress is unprecedented. When it comes to our friends, relatives, and other loved ones who are in recovery, we need to remember that they too are feeling this stress.
No matter how long an individual has been successful in recovery, this is a dangerous time. Staying clean and sober is challenging during the best of times, and these are some of the worst current generations have seen.
Read on to learn about ways to support people in recovery during coronavirus. If you are in recovery yourself, you too will benefit from this post.
Why Coronavirus Is Dangerous for Addiction Recovery
There are a number of reasons this dark period in American and world history is a dangerous one for individuals in recovery. There are many obstacles that people in recovery encounter daily even in the best of times, but they are equipped to deal with them when things are good. When everything is tough for everyone all around, there is a much greater chance of falling prey to cravings and returning to unhealthy and dangerous old habits.
First and foremost, and as mentioned above, stress is all around us right now. People are stressed about the unknown of the future. Many people are worried about their loved ones contracting this virus, related health problems, and subsequent potential complications. Finances and loss of work can also add to the equation.
Stress is one of the most common relapse triggers no matter what the situation. Even in the most normal and predictable times, many people in recovery slip as a result of outside stressors on their lives. When they were active users of drugs and alcohol, these individuals had these unhealthy substances to fall back upon in times of trouble, and that relief may seem attractive now. Even if a person has been clean and sober for many years, in times like these they may consider using again, and even a single use can begin to spiral out of control quickly.
Another coronavirus factor that may be quite challenging for people in recovery is the required (and in some places mandated) social isolation happening worldwide. This social distancing – and in some cases home quarantine – is necessary to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but it puts people in recovery in potentially dangerous situations by nature.
Many people in recovery are aware of the acronym HALT. This acronym reminds people in recovery to beware of becoming hungry, angry, lonely, or tired; avoiding these triggers can help to reduce the chance of relapse. However, in times like these, we are all separated from the greater population and everyone everywhere is feeling a bit lonely. If we allow ourselves to get deep into loneliness, people who are in recovery may make unwise decisions that they might not otherwise.
Anger is another trigger that appears in the HALT acronym. Although anger is not an emotion shared by all during this time, many people do feel frustration and anger about the current situation. This, too, can be a dangerous emotion for people in recovery from addiction.
Almost all affected by the worldwide change in everyday life thanks to coronavirus is feeling some degree of fear. This is another risky feeling to have when it comes to staying clean and sober from drugs and alcohol. Some people in recovery are not yet strong enough to deal with strong emotions like these in a healthy and positive way, and may turn to hold habits to numb fearful emotions that they don’t know how to handle otherwise.
How to Handle Difficult Emotions During Coronavirus
Whether these emotions are affecting you personally or another loved one in recovery, it’s crucial that they are addressed immediately and effectively. We need to keep everyone in recovery safe and clean and sober during this challenging time and moving forward from here.
There are healthy solutions to each of the emotions described above.
To combat stress, individuals in recovery must focus on alleviating their stress in healthy and productive ways. Walking in nature – far from others – is one effective way to accomplish this. Journaling and reading are others. Meditation and yoga and other exercise are all excellent ways to reduce stress and focus on mental and physical health during this time and always.
There are also ways to reduce feelings of isolation during this time. Recovery sponsors will serve as even stronger support now than ever before; don’t be afraid to call yours frequently. Online support groups are easy to find during this time. There are so many nationwide recovery organizations and each and every one of them is offering recovery support to isolated individuals during coronavirus.
Also reach out to friends and family via phone, text, video call, and email. There are so many ways to remind yourself that you are not alone in the world or in your battle against addiction even during this confusing and unprecedented time. We are physically isolated, but not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Anger and fear are two emotions that are a bit harder to keep at bay but it is possible to independently deescalate yourself from both. These emotions are caused by stress so focusing on healthy stress relievers will help immensely. Step away from news media when feeling overwhelmed, and turn to more positive stories and reflections.
Stay Strong – Stay Sober
This is a difficult time for everyone everywhere. However, things will improve in time and there is no benefit to giving up on your recovery. It’s crucial that you stay clean and sober and clearheaded now more than ever. You just need to harness the tools you have and keep living one day at a time as usual. Someday coronavirus will be defeated; now, we all just wait. Don’t let yourself get defeated too. Stay strong and stay sober no matter what it takes.
At Clear Sky Recovery, we offer ibogaine treatment for individuals who are struggling with addiction. Our innovative methods are rooted in the African continent, using medicine drawn from the tabernanthe iboga plant. Ibogaine has proven successful time and time again in interrupting addiction, and helping individuals who have experienced it to start anew, on a fresh path moving forward, free of the burden of addiction. Our intake specialists are standing by to give you more information about our methods, our facility in Cancun, Mexico, and our successes so far. We look forward to hearing from you, and to helping you begin a new and healthier life. Give us a call today.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.