6 Relapse Prevention Tips During Coronavirus Isolation
Isolation is the first thing we are told NOT to do when we begin our early journey in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol, but the Coronavirus has us all being told something completely different--to isolate and stay home. But long before Coronavirus entered our lives, America and millions of citizens within the country were fighting a much greater pandemic--addiction to drugs and alcohol! For those who have made the life saving choice to leave addiction behind them, isolation is an extremely dangerous situation despite the known benefits in terms of avoiding the coronavirus. So, how can we prevent relapse while equally working to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
At Pocket Rehab, we believe the answer lies within our app and that’s not just because we are biased (although...we rightfully are, just a little bit biased). The fact is, Pocket Rehab was built with social distancing, isolation, and a lack of in-person support in mind--and not because we knew there would be some worldwide pandemic that caused everyone to have to stay home. In fact, Pocket Rehab and the tools that have been rolled out within the app over the past several months have always focused on providing ways to support one another virtually, and virtual support couldn’t come at a better time--could it?
While we are all a little on edge and more than ready to get out of the house and enjoy time with friends and family, the CDC recommends we stay home for several more weeks (or months) to ensure COVID-19 does not continue to spread and wreak havoc on our nation. As such, we’re working on more ways to provide in-app experiences that offer robust support and around-the-clock communication from the recovery community that you need to stay sober. In the meantime, we’ve put together some relapse prevention tips to help you stay committed to your sobriety throughout this time.
1 Stay Connected Virtually
Isolation is deadly and can quickly derail any progress made toward mental healing if you’re not careful. Even those with no background of mental health conditions can find self-quarantine to be difficult at best. However, the internet, cell phones and other technology makes it easier than ever before to remain connected with others during this time. Make sure that you are actively pursuing your virtual connections as follows:
Call your friends and family, daily. Choose a different connection each day to keep the communication robust and to avoid feeling so isolated.
Schedule time to connect with your recovery companions via Facetime, Skype, Zoom or similar face-to-face via the screen option.
Utilize virtual services that encourage connections between your friends and family.
Stay involved in sobriety groups, forums or channels that are focused on support. Pocket Rehab connects you with a community that is 100K strong and focused on recovery 24/7.
2 Attend Virtual, Remote Support Groups
While you likely cannot attend a group meeting in your town at this time, plenty of options exist to keep you involved with support group meetings virtually. Most 12-step meetings have shifted to online or in-app options that allow for scheduled Zoom calls or similar opportunities to connect and attend from a remote location anywhere an internet connection and connected device are available.
At Pocket Rehab, you’ll connect with thousands of others that realize the importance of Fellowship as a means of preventing relapse and maintaining your sobriety. We encourage you to get involved in the remote, virtual community that includes active engagement in the support forum, daily scheduled Zoom meetings, and several other opportunities to interact with others in the recovery community.
3 Avoid Boredom
It’s easy to get bored right now, especially if you’re out of work and unable to go anywhere, but boredom can quickly lead to relapse if you’re not careful. To avoid boredom, consider taking steps to actively train your brain to focus on inspirational things rather than focusing too heavily on the “what ifs” or the negativity that currently engulfs our world.
Here are a few activities that will help you stay inspired and avoid boredom while you’re stuck at home:
Read an inspirational book. If you’re at a loss of what to read, ask for recommendations in Pocket Rehab.
Listen to your favorite music or, better yet, produce your own music! If you’re not familiar with playing an instrument, now is a great time to commit to learning how.
Take an online class. Several options exist including cooking, art, coding, and literally just about anything you could imagine. Exercise the brain--it’s a great way to stay active in recovery.
Exercise. Consider Yoga, meditation or just good o’le fashioned cardio to get the blood flowing.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
As the days drag on, chances are boredom will become a bigger potential relapse trigger and one that you need to remain actively aware of. Don’t be afraid to try something new. A new hobby will not only fill the time but can also offer a means of finding new connections that you can communicate with and share something in common. Whether you’re interested in art, dance, yoga, music, crafts or just about anything else, a hobby will help you pass the time in a healthy way.
Once you’ve decided what it is you want or aspire to do, seek communities or forums online that include members actively doing the same thing. Communicate regularly within the chat groups to further develop connections with the outside world. Now is a great time to practice something new that you wouldn’t normally have time to do.
4 Stay Accountable
One of the biggest problems with isolation is the fact that it’s easy to lose accountability when you are not around others. So, one of the best things that you can do to prevent relapse during this time of social distancing is to keep yourself accountable. Pocket Rehab connects you with accountability partners. Unlike a traditional 12-step group that would assign you a single sponsor which would be in charge of helping you remain accountable, you benefit from having several accountability partners in Pocket Rehab.
Being alone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is just plain hard no matter who you are, no matter what stage of recovery you are in, and no matter how strong your current mental state is. Having multiple accountability partners, that you check in with and who check on you regularly throughout the day and night may make a difference in whether you remain sober throughout this time.
Whether you check in regularly with a friend, family member, sponsor, counselor, therapist, healthcare provider or a group or community is up to you--the goal here is to consistently check in and be held accountable for your actions. Isolation is dangerous--accountability is the immediate fix that will help you achieve long-lasting sobriety with minimal risk of relapse.
5 Get Out of the House
Not to go shopping. Not to meet a group of friends. Not to be around others--because all of those are not recommended by the CDC. But, you need to get out of the house so that you have a change of scenery and you don’t feel so socially trapped. Instead, take a walk or spend some time outside doing something else.
Gardening, individual sports, kayaking, swimming, or just walking around the block can do a lot of good when you’ve spent hours trapped inside, alone. While the CDC does recommend we stay home and avoid situations that put us at risk of being in confined areas with large crowds, the National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends that if you’re staying home it is important to keep moving and to add exercise into your daily routine.
Consider the following options to exercise without having to invest money or spend time around others that may put you at risk of contracting an illness such as COVID-19:
Take a walk.
Spending time outside of your house, whether it is just in your backyard, at a park, or walking around the block can be very beneficial in helping you to feel less trapped. If you’re feeling stressed about having to stay home, get up and take a break from your time at home to release some of the pressure and remember, this too shall pass!
6 Maintain Your Social Networks
While staying physically connected is challenging right now, digital connections via social networks represent a key opportunity for you to maintain your sobriety and minimize your risk of relapse. There are a lot of different ways that you can connect on social media. If you’re not already on social media, begin by signing up for the various free accounts such as Facebook.
In addition to social networking, consider connecting with friends and family members over the phone or in apps like Pocket Rehab which allow you to communicate, share your emotions and interact with others that are part of the recovery community.
Even though you may not be able to actively see your friends or family in person, several virtual options exist to help you feel socially connected at this time. Build connections by:
Calling, texting or emailing close family or friends on a regular basis.
Setting healthy boundaries when it comes to how frequently you will check the news and actively participating in conversations outside “COVID-19” so that your mind is not overburdened with negativity.
Sharing how you feel with others in the app, on social media, or via phone.
Communicating closely with those you live with.
Virtually participating in games and events.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Social distancing is a phrase that may be better phrased “Personal Physical Distancing” because it’s really all about distancing the amount of time you spend personally near someone else--not so much socializing. You can still very much socialize with others and are encouraged to socialize virtually on a regular basis to maintain those personal connections that you are accustomed to.
Check out Pocket Rehab for more ways to connect with others in recovery and prevent relapse. We’re actively working to help our community feel connected and in control of their recovery despite the uncertain times faced in our world today. We look forward to seeing you in our Zoom meetings, participating in our community and actively pursuing a lifestyle of recovery with the rest of us!
Category: Pocket Rehab
Tags: relapse prevention, relapse, prevention, relapse prevention tips, relapse prevention techniques, COVID-19, Coronavirus