One of the first things newly recovering addicts are told after completing outpatient rehab is not to isolate themselves. Isolation and loneliness is part of the syndrome of addiction. And a lasting recovery program means finding ways to help vulnerable populations stay connected and thus at lower risk for relapse. While staying connected is excellent advice that all addiction treatment professionals stand by, we are now living in an unusual time when everyone is isolated due to coronavirus.
Coronavirus: A Concern for People New to Recovery
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that can cause serious complications, particularly for older adults and those with compromised immune systems. However, recovering addicts are often placed in the latter group because they are still healing from addiction. It takes time for the body to heal, and most newly recovering addicts are still deficient in vitamins and nutrients.
Therefore, social distancing and self-quarantining are essential to staying safe and healthy, at least from a physical standpoint. In terms of your mental and emotional health, however, social distancing can complicate your recovery. All over the country, AA meetings are canceling and support networks are becoming fractured.
Fortunately, there are ways to maintain connections during this time of socially distant recovery. Not all will be easy, but recovering from addiction in Phoenix requires your full effort. Today is no different.
Why it’s Important to Prevent Loneliness and Isolation
Addiction is a lonely disease – the loneliest. People who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to do so because they are hurting inside. These substances often provide temporary relief from the pain they feel and the trauma they experienced. This leaves people trapped inside their minds and a slave to their addiction.
Obviously, addiction sabotages relationships and pulls people further apart from friends and loved ones. As a result, people with addiction tend to isolate themselves and rely increasingly on drugs and alcohol to feel good. When the cycle deepens, these individuals are at risk for financial troubles, fractured relationships, criminal records, ongoing health problems, fatal overdoses and more.
As you are probably aware, recovering from addiction in Phoenix is a lifelong process. You may be newly sober, but there is not much distance between you and your addiction. Therefore, if you don’t stay connected to your support network, it’s easier to fall back into old habits. This is why it’s so important to maintain your connections with others, though you’ll have to be creative in doing so.
Ways to Maintain Social Connectedness During Coronavirus
Whether you are new to recovery or have been in recovery for many years, social connectedness remains essential. Below you’ll find the best ways to keep your social connections strong in the weeks and months ahead.
Attend online AA meetings.
In Phoenix and across the country, AA and NA hold online meetings, something that has been increasingly popular over the years. You can find a list of online meetings here, or talk to your sponsor about the best groups to join. It’s possible that your group may set up their own online meetings through Skype or Facebook.
Join a Facebook group for recovering addicts.
Facebook has a number of online support groups that are open to individuals in recovery. For example, the Addiction Recovery Support Group is a judgement-free group with over 93,000 members. There are plenty of others, perhaps even one in your local community.
Talk to your sponsor or loved ones on video chat.
Skype, FaceTime, etc. are all excellent ways to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. The benefit is that you get to see people face to face and watch their expressions, improving social connectedness.
Participate in a virtual skill class.
More skill classes are going virtual due to the coronavirus outbreak. Experts say these classes are good for mental health. Two of the most popular right now are book clubs and baking classes. Cooking, in particular, can encourage you to eat healthy foods that boost your immunity.
Help neighbors and others in need.
Check on neighbors to see if they need help with something (stay 6 feet apart). You can collect their mail, place an online order for them or give them a call. Surely, there are older neighbors who could benefit from these friendly gestures, and you’ll feel good in doing so.
Consider fostering a pet.
Animal shelters are asking for the public’s help in fostering animals during the outbreak. If you’ve been considering a pet, this is a wonderful opportunity to try it out. Once things settle down, the animal shelters will reopen.
Connect with the people you live with.
Finally, if you live with others, now is a good time to connect with them. Addiction probably came between you and your family members, and you may have a lot of work to do to repair these relationships. Now that you are quarantined, it’s a great time to deepen these connections.
What Happens if You Relapse During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
If you happen to relapse, it’s imperative that you enter a Phoenix treatment center right away. Continuum Recovery Center remains open and committed to serving the needs of our clients and their families during this stressful time. Because we are part of the healthcare system, we will continue to hold our doors open for the people who need our services.
That said, we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our drug rehab in Phoenix safe and secure. For example, we are implementing additional sanitation measures and following all local and federal safety guidelines. We will continue to monitor the situation so that we can provide the utmost safety to our vulnerable populations.
Most importantly, please remember that you are not alone right now. Even if things feel dire, Continuum Recovery Center remains an outlet of hope. We understand that not everyone has strong support networks at home, and if you are one of them, you may benefit from one of our holistic outpatient addiction treatment programs. Contact us today to learn more. We are here for you!