The Rise in Alcohol & Drug Relapses from Coronavirus: How to avoid them?

Although the containment measures that have been taken to try to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have not been easy for anyone, there is one group that is particularly vulnerable: people in the process of drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

In such complicated circumstances with disrupted routines, increased isolation, peaks of anxiety, uncertainty and boredom, this population may be tempted increase to the use of the substance to which they are addicted, as a compensation mechanism. It wouldn’t be weird, statistics indicate that up to 80% of addicts relapse at least once before reaching total sobriety, and those studies do not take into account the coronavirus variable. So, let’s see what can be done to prevent a relapse into substance abuse.

Avoid Having Risky Substances at Home: It is a fact that sales of alcoholic beverages have exploded in many countries during the quarantine. If you are recovering from alcohol abuse, or there is someone in your home in that situation, avoid by all means buying and keeping liquors at home or any other substance that can act as an “activator” of addiction and encourage you to consume it (cigarettes, for example).

Maintain Physical Distancing, but Avoid Social Isolation: Social isolation is closely linked to higher levels of addiction. Today, more than ever it is important to understand that distancing ourselves physically does not mean distancing ourselves socially and emotionally from people. Although we cannot be within 2 meters from others, there are numerous ways to communicate and maintain a connection without risk, such as video conferences, phone calls, social networks, WhatsApp. Express what you feel and if you need help, ask for it.

Follow Treatment from Home and Take advantage of Available Resources: Most rehabilitation centers and organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) continue to work remotely with their patients and offer many resources and 24-hour hotlines. Keep participating in the weekly 12-step meetings, and feel free to use these tools to continue your treatment and contact a counselor if you need support. You can find more helpful information on the AA and NA websites.

Engage Yourself on Fun Activities to Fill in the Gaps that Addiction Leaves: The withdrawal syndrome that is part of the rehabilitation process is usually accompanied by a feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction, and even scenarios of anxiety or depression. Something that helps is to get a new hobby that appeals to you and that you can practice from home to keep your body and mind distracted, such as playing video games, coloring mandalas, taking online courses on websites like Coursera or Doméstika. You could also do some meditation or yoga, or actively join a virtual group on a topic that you are passionate about.

Feeling alive, active, connected and healthy is perhaps the best compensation mechanism you have to avoid relapsing into your addiction. If you want more advice to live with more fulfillment, peace and happiness, look for me on my social networks @lauraposadalifecoach.