This past year has made life difficult for a variety of people in many aspects of their lives. Quarantining can be lonely and stressful. It has been especially hard for those recovering from addiction. Someone recovering from addiction thrives off of the support they get from their support groups, friends, and family. Self-isolation has taken that from people in recovery, and many have slipped back into addiction. Here is a list of tips for anyone in recovery to help them keep away from addiction and maintain their sobriety in and out of quarantine.
Know Your Triggers
For many addicts, certain people, or situations often pair with their addiction. Keep your distance or cut ties with individuals you know have the same addiction or enable your addiction. Do not visit areas where you know it is easy to gain access to your addiction. Addiction is not as simple as “out of sight, out of mind” but it helps to stay away from easy access points.
Also avoid stressful situations. Those in recovery are more likely to relapse when surrounded by stressful people or in a stressful environment. If you find yourself becoming stressed, immediately remove yourself from the situation, empty your mind, and take deep, calming breaths to help relax.
Change Up Your Routine
If your old routine is too close to your addiction, switch things up. Create new, positive habits that help maintain your sobriety, such has cleaning the kitchen before bed, or taking a morning walk. Creating and maintaining a structured schedule can also help alleviate stress, which in turn helps maintain sobriety. Avoid routes to work or shopping locations that may have been a part of your old routine during your addiction.
Seek Healthy Relationships
When people seek help for their addiction, they often find through therapy or reflection that some of their relationships with friends, family, or partners are an unhealthy cause or biproduct of their addiction. An addict in recovery cannot surround themselves with other addicts and still be successful. These ties need to be cut, which can be hard to do, especially if it is someone dear to you. Encourage them to seek sobriety with you; recovery is easier with a friend to lean on. However, if they choose their addiction instead, you have to make the decision best for you and your health.
Join a support group and create new healthy relationships that encourage you to grow and thrive. Also, avoid enablers. Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable for your actions. During quarantine, attend virtual sessions with your support group or people close to you.
Practice Healthy Living
Throughout your addiction, you focused on something that hurt your body and mind. Now is the time to focus on something that heals you instead. Exercising releases endorphins that make you feel good and give you a boost of energy, so try adding an exercise routine to your daily schedule. Experiment with new recipes and restaurants that emphasize healthy eating. Healthy living will make you feel better physically and mentally, which can do wonders for your recovery.
Know Your Warning Signs
Recognize your addictive thinking patterns and avoid them. If you notice yourself slipping back into those addictive thinking patterns or notice you are beginning to behave less responsibly, seek help through a therapist or support group. Talk things out to hopefully understand what it was that triggered these thoughts or behavior so that you can avoid this or learn to cope in the future.
Deal with Your Past and Celebrate Your Milestones
You had an addiction. Maybe you did things or said things during your addiction that were out of character for you. Maybe you kept bad company or went to unsafe places. Whatever you did in the past is just that: in the past. You’re not an addict anymore. You made the choice to be a better you and you deserve to be happy about that.
You deserve to celebrate your achievements, whether it’s one day sober, one week, or one year! What you’ve decided to do is not a piece of cake. It takes dedication and resolve. You have chosen strength in sobriety. Never let it feel like it is not a big deal. Whether it’s your first attempt or your fifth attempt, you’re choosing a better, healthier you, so never forget to celebrate yourself on your path to recovery and maintaining your sobriety.
By: Better Me by Dr. B
Editor: Ariel Thompson
Medical Reviewer: Dr. Tiffany Bell D.O.