Have you been struggling to maintain sobriety during this current pandemic?
You’re definitely not alone. So many of us are struggling with all the isolation we’re experiencing. And while isolating is certainly better than getting sick or spreading an illness that’s quite dangerous to those who are vulnerable, it doesn’t exactly feel good.
Boredom is a major trigger for a lot of people in recovery. So is stress. And many people are dealing with both simultaneously.
So if you’re struggling to stay sober, here are five things you can try to decrease your odds of a relapse.
1. Stick to a schedule
The biggest problem with boredom during this pandemic isn’t a lack of things to do. In fact, most of us have an over-abundance of things to do. We just don’t want to do them.
Before this all happened, you probably had a bunch of things you wished you could do if you only had the time. And now, we’re all having to face the fact that we were lying to ourselves. Now that we have the time and still aren’t keeping on top of the laundry or organizing the garage, we have to admit that time was never the problem.
It’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do each day. And you can be just as busy as you were before (with constructive things) as long as you hold yourself accountable to a schedule.
2. Up your magnesium intake
At least one study has found that low levels of magnesium are linked to greater odds of relapse, so be sure you’re eating a healthy diet filled with magnesium-rich foods. And if you feel you need more magnesium in your diet, talk to your doctor about whether it makes sense to supplement.
3. Keep in touch
Even though we’re all isolated, we can still keep in touch. With Zoom meetings and Facetime calls, we can feel almost like we’re hanging out with friends and family. It’s not the same, but it’s the best substitute we have for now. Try to reach out to your inner circle often and consider calling a few new people each week. Now is a good time to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with.
4. Ask for help
Mental health is a serious concern for so many people at this time, and when you add addiction recovery to the mix, it can feel like a tightrope walk.
Don’t make the mistake of minimizing your problems or feelings. Yes, there’s a lot going on in the world. But you matter. If you need help sorting through your fears and feelings about the pandemic, talk to a counselor.
You don’t even have to leave your home. Most professional therapists are holding virtual sessions, so you should be able to find someone you can connect with. If you don’t have the means to see a counselor, you may be able to find help through the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s resource page.
And, of course, if you’re struggling with thoughts of relapse, call your addiction recovery therapist or sober support.
5. Take it day-by-day
There are so many things that are uncertain. And, in truth, none of us can predict exactly what our lives will look like on the other side of this. But there is one thing we do know: there is another side. Take comfort in knowing that the isolation is temporary, and we will soon get back to many of our old habits. So in the meantime, take it one day at a time.
Maintaining sobriety takes effort and dedication, but you can do this. Just like you’ve done it every day until now. Make all those efforts count by doing what it takes to stick with it through this pandemic.