How Self-Isolation During COVID-19 is a Problem to Recovering Addicts

Written by on April 21, 2020 in Health with 0 Comments

Self-isolation during COVID-19 poses a challenge to everyone. However, this period is more challenging for recovering addicts. Everybody is told to practice social distancing during this time. That’s because social distancing is a crucial practice when it comes to preventing coronavirus from spreading further.

However, this social isolation can put the sobriety of recovering addicts in jeopardy. When people with drug abuse problems go into rehab, they are taught to reach out, get support and gain strength from others. That’s why they attend regular support group meetings. Without attending the in-person meetings, reaching out for support and strength becomes difficult.

As such, isolation is not good for recovering addicts. Self-isolation is making life incredibly tough for most recovering addicts. Some of these individuals start fantasizing about using addictive substances again to escape this reality.

Isolation as a Trigger for Addiction

Some people are undergoing treatment for addiction in times of coronavirus because isolation, loneliness, and boredom triggered them to start abusing addictive substances. Practicing self-isolation means even these individuals have to deal with the same problem that led to their substance abuse problem.

When this is added to the general anxiety that surrounds the coronavirus and addiction, the experience becomes more difficult. As such, even people that have already undergone treatment and are on their recovery journey outside a rehab facility can relapse when trying to self-isolate during COVID-19.

Why Group Gatherings Are Important for Recovering Addicts

Group meetings via organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous provide the first defense line for the individuals recovering from drug addiction. Even attending sober activities and meeting sponsors is equally important.

Before COVID-19, recovering addicts could schedule coffee and meals together. This provided a chance to meet, support each other, and having something to keep them occupied. Most of them had something to look forward to.

This is very important because recovering addicts are taught to keep busy to avoid relapse. Essentially, boredom and loneliness are some of the major causes of relapse. Staying at home all day is generally boring.

Attending Group Meetings when Self-Isolating During COVID-19

It’s no secret that self-isolation is a problem for those undergoing drug addiction treatment during COVID-19. But, this doesn’t mean that people can’t overcome their addiction during this period. Online forums, talks, and meetings were available and widely acceptable before COVID-19. However, their popularity has increased since people were told to stay at home.

Although the physical, routine gathering is important for those in recovery, online forums, talks, and meetings provide a chance for recovering addicts to continue supporting each other. Several rehab facilities have also come up with alternative plans to ensure that online group meetings continue.

For instance, some facilities are still holding weekly meetings that include up to 16 people. These online sessions are working pretty well and allowing those in recovery to connect. As such, social isolation might not be a major word for recovering addicts as long as they can access the internet.

Essentially, recovering addicts may be personally distancing to play their role in combating the coronavirus. However, they are meeting online to continue with their addiction and mental health support programs.

Some facilities are providing addiction treatment services in times of cornavirus. But these services are offered by phone. As such, these facilities encourage their clients to contact them before their appointment. That way, the facilities can discuss the availability of the services in advance. Where visits are allowed, clients are pre-screened in advance.

How to Avoid Relapse during COVID-19

Individuals in recovery have to go to greater-than-normal lengths if they want to avoid relapse-inducing self-isolation during COVID-19. When discharged from rehab facilities, some individuals are scared of going out there. Some even want to extend their stay in inpatient treatment centers.

Essentially, most individuals that have completed their addiction treatment are afraid of staying home alone. That’s because they are going out to a closed world. But, this shouldn’t be the case. Recovering addicts can use different tactics to avoid relapsing during COVID-19.

For instance, some recovering addicts are using Skype, texts, and online chats to hold meaningful conversations with members of their support groups. They are also using such communication methods to talk to individuals that support their recovery.

Some individuals are using their families as a helpful distraction. At this time, children are not going to school. Therefore, some parents that are recovering from addiction are focusing on taking care of their families. For instance, some are taking the time to prepare a special breakfast, lunch, and dinner for their families.

Ordering groceries and ensuring that families have all necessary supplies is a great way to keep busy and avoid the thoughts of using addictive substances. And, this is making life a little easier for some recovering addicts because they don’t have time to think about going to the bar or liquor store.

Using COVID-19 Period to Reflect

For some people, completing treatment for substance abuse during COVID-19 provides an opportunity to reflect. These individuals are using the self-isolation period to sit down and think quietly. They are reflecting on what they believe in. These are using this time to go to the root cause of their addiction and take a break.

During this time, some recovering addicts can answer serious questions like what caused their addiction, why they want to be sober, as well as, the usefulness and purpose of leading a sober life.

For some individuals, this is the time to rebuild broken relationships. This is important because research has shown that substance abuse affects families in different ways. One effect of substance abuse is ruining family relationships. As such, some individuals are using their self-isolation period to reconnect with individuals that mean something to them.

The Bottom Line

Individuals that complete their addiction treatment programs during COVID-19 are finding self-isolation difficult. That’s because they are taught to reach out, connect, and gain strength from their interactions with other people. However, these individuals are avoiding relapse by seeking support and health online. Others are keeping busy by taking care of their families and connecting via the internet. Thus, though recovering addicts are practicing social distancing, they are still keeping in touch via internet communication.


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