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10 Ways To Fight Addiction During COVID-19

Recovery is a challenge under normal circumstances, and it can be even harder with COVID-19. There are several things you can do to fight addiction now, from staying connected with others to practicing self-care.

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Overcoming addiction and staying sober can be especially challenging right now. Across the country, we are asked to keep our distance from others—no hugging, restricted social gatherings, and limits on how and where we entertain ourselves.

A strong support system is vital for a successful recovery, and isolation is a trigger to substance use for most people. 

Here are 10 ways to fight addiction during COVID-19:

  1. Stay Connected

You may not be able to visit family and friends, but you can call them. Smartphones allow for video calls that are a step away from meeting in person. You can still share laughs, talk about your day, and ask for their support.

While support groups may not be meeting in person, there are ways to stay connected. Plan regular check-ins with your sponsor so you’re held accountable. Join a virtual support group or find out if your current group will be meeting remotely.

  1. Establish A Routine

Having a plan for your day can help you resist substance abuse. When you establish a routine, you leave no room for drugs and alcohol. 

Start your day calmly and fill your time with meaningful and healthy activities, such as work, exercise, or connecting with others. Go to bed at the same time and eat regular meals. Focus on reducing stress so your mind is strong enough to fight addiction.

The more you are in control of your time, the less likely you are to be controlled by addiction. 

  1. Be Aware Of Your Triggers

Many people are most vulnerable to substance abuse when they are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (often referred to as “HALT”). 

Certain people, places, or situations could be triggers too, based on your personal experience with addiction and substance abuse.

Hunger and tiredness can usually be avoided with a little forethought. Other triggers may be more difficult to fight. When you are aware of the things that make you want to use drugs or alcohol, you can see them coming and make a plan to resist them. 

  1. Practice Mindfulness

Many addiction treatment programs teach mindfulness—the practice of living in the present moment and being aware of the world around you as well as the thoughts within you. It gives you control over your thinking so you can choose positive thoughts that lead to healthier actions. 

Mindfulness can be used in everyday life or meditation. While meditating, sit or lie still and focus on your breath and body. If your thoughts wander, gently bring them back to the present. 

When you practice mindfulness, you don’t let negative thoughts passively affect you. As a result, you don’t get lost in feeling guilty about the past or worrying about the future. 

Instead of using drugs or alcohol to cope with unpleasant feelings, you release yourself from the burden of carrying those negative things with you.

  1. Take Care Of Yourself

Self-care is an important aspect of addiction recovery. Take time to meet your own needs and treat yourself as someone special.

What you do for self-care may be different from what someone else does. Take a warm bath, eat a healthy meal, read a good book. You know what feeds your soul. 

Many people who suffer from addiction use drugs or alcohol to fill an emptiness that can only be filled by loving themselves. Nurturing your body, mind, and spirit is essential for recovery.

  1. Try New Things

Due to high unemployment rates and closures of entertainment sites like movie theaters, a lot of people have free time they didn’t have before. For someone who struggles with addiction, free time can mean more loneliness and a greater risk of relapse.

Trying new things—like picking up a new hobby or learning a new skill—can be fun. It can build your confidence and make your life more fulfilling.

Some new things, such as yoga or meditation, can also alleviate the stress that may trigger substance abuse.

  1. Recognize The Risk

Substance abuse is hard on the immune system. People who suffer from addiction may be at a higher risk of catching COVID-19 because of drug- or alcohol-related health problems. 

A June 2020 study found that addicted individuals are more likely to have serious complications if they get the virus. 

This is especially true for those who abuse opioids. Heroin and prescription opioids affect the respiratory system, as does COVID-19. People who smoke tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs may also have a higher risk of complications due to weakened or clogged lungs.

People who are socially isolated have a greater chance of overdose death, too. 

Recognizing these risks can encourage you to take care of your health and work to heal from the negative effects of addiction.

  1. Remind Yourself Why You Chose Recovery

If you’re reading this article, you’re trying to break free from addiction. Why?

Maybe you want to rebuild relationships with loved ones. Maybe you want to be healthy again. Or maybe you can’t financially support your addiction anymore.

Whatever the reason, recovery matters to you. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, especially during a pandemic. But it’s worth it.

If you’ve already started your recovery journey, think about the positive changes you’ve seen in your life since then. Are you speaking to your parents again? Can you breathe easier? Have you been able to hold down a job?

If you’ve just decided to seek help for addiction, hold on to that, and imagine the life you could live if you weren’t a slave to drugs or alcohol.

  1. Speak With A Professional

It’s hard to recover from addiction alone. The extra stress of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it even more challenging. If you need help, admit it. Ask for it. Speak with a professional today.

Many substance abuse counselors and addiction treatment centers are offering online counseling and outpatient programs during this time. These virtual options allow people to stay safely at home while providing the support they need to recover.

  1. Enroll In Addiction Treatment

Most drug and alcohol rehab centers across the U.S. have remained open despite COVID-19. Addiction recovery is crucial to living a healthy life and it can’t be put on hold.

If you need more support than virtual addiction treatment can offer, enrolling in an inpatient rehab program is an option. Many people need inpatient care to remove them from everyday triggers and immerse them in a new way of life.  

Inpatient treatment facilities are taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus, so your safety is still a priority.

To learn more about fighting addiction during COVID-19, or to explore treatment options at Vertava Health, contact us today.

Harvard Health Publishing - https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-tale-of-two-epidemics-when-covid-19-and-opioid-addiction-collide-2020042019569

National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders

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