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During the coronavirus pandemic, we are ordered to stay at home and respect social distancing. This means that we’re not allowed to be in contact with other people – including the addiction and recovery professionals we once had access to.

The government-mandated isolation can appear overwhelming to some, throwing the routines and structures that we built for a successful recovery out of sync.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. For patients that are without outpatient treatment or without one-on-one sessions or counselling, it’s important to remember that help is not confined to the outside world.

We have compiled a list of some of the best addiction recovery resources to help pass days of quarantine or working from home.

How can the coronavirus pandemic impact my recovery?

Isolation can trigger negative thoughts and provoke feelings of hopelessness, lack of productivity, and a general sense of disorientation. Stress and anxiety relating to social and environmental factors are one of the main reasons for relapse. [1]

The factors that coincide with self-isolation (boredom, lack of impulse control, no set routine, over-exposure to the media) can result in returning to destructive behaviours. This can include relying again on drink or drugs to alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression, an increase in smoking habits, and even loss of control in relation to food and consumption. But you are not alone in this behaviour.

In a recent survey conducted by Rehab 4 Addiction, one-third of adults in the UK said that forced self-isolation measures due to the coronavirus outbreak have “extremely” affected their mental health in a negative way.

Support once found from the outside can be difficult to come across, and many recovering addicts or users will vouch for the fact that a strong-pillared community and sober social network is the driving force of recovery. Sober groups and experts will be the first to admit that recovery is all about communication and rebuilding relationships.

Counselling sessions and one-on-one meetings can also be great – and without these, you might think it will be all too easy to relapse. But today’s technology offers plenty of opportunities to continue with your recovery, which we will discuss below.

How important is support while recovering from addiction in self-isolation?

While many services, companies, and institutions will close down during the Covid-19 pandemic, substance addiction is something that is not deterred by lockdown. But recovery is something you can choose to include in your life during lockdown.

Although face-to-face contact in the form of support groups, counselling, and one-on-one sessions won’t be available physically, other options exist. Fortunately, technology is on-hand to help you continue on your road to recovery even during these tough times.

Support for patients is crucial during addiction recovery. Without it, patients have nobody to trust with their feelings and thoughts, which can worsen the addiction. The friends and family will become enemies instead of sources of trust, and the patient might start to turn inwards. This can make addiction even worse.

Support coming from the patient’s family is very welcome at this moment in time. They should try to support the patient and give them encouragement to continue the recovery. If that’s not possible, support groups which can be found online are a great source of digital encouragement.

Recovery can be developed through phone calls with physicians, psychologists, and counsellors, as well as video calls with family or friends, and even e-mail conversations. Podcasts can be extremely helpful in letting the patient know they are not alone during the coronavirus lockdown.

How do I continue my sobriety during recovery on lockdown?

While quarantine can appear daunting during isolation, there are a few basic guidelines you can follow which will help you manage during these uncertain times.

Here are some useful tips to help you stay sober during the lockdown:

Social distancing doesn’t mean pure isolation. Instead, try to reach out to as many friends and members of the family if you need help. Additionally, there are plenty of resources online that can help you prevent complete isolation.

The feeling of isolation and loneliness can worsen the addiction. There are online meetings with Google Hangouts, Zoom, and you can stay in touch with phone calls or even text.

Create a schedule for each day and stick to it. It’s crucial that you establish a routine, even if you’re at home during these times. If you were used to a routine beforehand, it can be so easy to fall out of the routine and indulge in substances again.

Reading materials that can help you with recovery can be very beneficial. You’ll feel like you’re not alone, and you’ll get a good sense of how to combat addiction. Additionally, read books that will make you feel at ease and take your mind off of substances. This can be fiction or non-fiction books, whichever you prefer.

Go outside as much as you can. This doesn’t mean going to the city park or town park. Instead, go outside and tend to your garden, or do things that need to be done around your house.

If you don’t live in a house, then you can go into nature and take a walk. Go somewhere where you’re unlikely to meet people and remember to adhere to social distancing rules.

Listen to good podcasts that can help you continue the recovery. There’s plenty of great podcasts about just everything you can think of. And there’s plenty of materials for staying sober. We’ll provide you with some of them later on.

Managing alcohol addiction during the Covid-19 pandemic

If you’re suffering from alcohol addiction, then it’s crucial that you try to control your alcohol intake during coronavirus. If you have a severe alcohol dependence, cutting down gradually, or tapering off is recommended.

For more information on how alcohol can affect mental health, read our blog post on how alcohol effects the brain.

Stopping drinking suddenly after weeks, months, or years of abuse might lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, which, without proper guidance and support, can have serious consequences and can even be fatal.

After you stop drinking suddenly, you’ll start to feel withdrawal symptoms after a couple of days. In some cases, these symptoms will be more severe and will require immediate medical attention.

That’s why it’s better to reduce your alcohol intake with the correct support and care – such as an alcohol detoxing service, or with the encouragement and support from a close family member or friend. If you experience seizures, hallucinations, double vision, and confusion, contact 999 immediately.

The right course of action during the lockdown is to cut down on alcohol gradually by setting goals. But this is easier said than done, and you’ll need a great deal of self-control. You can try the following.

  • On a daily basis, set yourself goals of how much alcohol you can take in. Things can go out of control, so try to stick to these goals as much as you can
  • Keep a diary of your goals and of your alcohol consumption
  • Do not consume all the alcohol at once. Instead, spread the intake throughout the day to ease the symptoms
  • Start cutting down on alcohol slowly; start with a 10% cut each day, or you can be more aggressive if you feel you can handle it
  • Take care of your diet and drink lots of water. Sleep is also crucial
  • Contact 999 if you experience an emergency

Advice for drug abuse during Covid-19

Here’s some advice for those who are trying to recover from drug abuse during coronavirus:

  • If you’re in self-isolation, give your contact details to a local support service
  • Take your prescribed medications on time, and make sure you have enough medication for a couple of weeks. Ask someone to pick them up for you if you are unable to do so
  • You might be at a higher health risk during the outbreak due to a weakened immune system from exposure to drug abuse. Wash your hands frequently, and do not share your drugs or equipment with others
  • Try to prevent overdose; take the drugs in smaller doses if you have to. Crush down the drugs before you take them to ease the symptoms
  • Reach out to support groups online; there’s plenty of resources for that
  • Keep a good diet and drink lots of water
  • Avoid physical contact at all times

Useful resources to staying sober during the lockdown

Below we have listed some helpful virtual resources to help curb alcohol or drug cravings during lockdown. These include:

  • Hosting an online meeting with Zoom – it’s a great way to reach out to people and talk to people who are struggling with the same problems as yourself
  • Life Process Program – start your recovery, or continue it from the comfort of your home
  • Fight Addiction Now – another resourceful program tailored to curbing cravings which can help you fight addiction during the lockdown
  • Counselling Online – for those who are looking for counselling, or are missing one-on-one sessions. Speak to experts from your home
  • Drink Coach – a good resource for people trying to reduce alcohol consumption and to start or continue rehab
  • Recovery Posse – connect to other people that are trying to recover during these tough times. You can read resources that can help you stay clean. It’s a blog-like resource
  • SMART Recovery Online Meetings – if you need a support group or you want to take part in online meetings, this resource is ideal. Speak to others in the same position as you, and talk to experts face-to-face
  • Soberistas – a forum-like community where everyone can contribute and discuss to related topics surrounding drug and alcohol use
  • Sober Recovery Forums – another forum community where people can connect and share their experiences about recovery
  • We Are With You – an online chat community where you can chat with an expert – it’s all confidential
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – a good community for alcoholics where they can reach out for help. This is highly recommended among recovery experts

Useful apps for sobriety during the coronavirus pandemic

There are a lot of apps that can help you stay sober during coronavirus. Here are some of the best ones.

  • Sober Grid – a sober online community where you can connect with others who have similar substance issues
  • NOMO – a great app to say no more to substances and to track your intake
  • Sober Tool – a resource that will help you track and control your substance use. Both for iOS and Android
  • Breaking Free – a great resource that offers recovery programmes.
  • Drinks Meter – an app that will give you feedback based on your alcohol intake and give you guidance
  • We Connect – a sobriety app to help you stay clean

Useful Resources for Families

Families that need to support their family members on the road to recovery will find these resources useful.

  • Al-Anon UK – a great resource for families that will help the family members stay clean
  • NACOA – a good support resource that will help families during COVID-19
  • Scottish Families – support for families during COVID-19 and with recovery

Sobriety podcasts to listen to during isolation

Podcasts can be extremely helpful during isolation, as they can give you a sense of support and make you feel less isolated. Here are some of the best sobriety podcasts to listen to during isolation:

  • The Bubble Hour – Adrienne Enns shares her experiences about rehab and will give you great tips about staying on the right path
  • The Addicted Mind – various experts of recovery share their experiences about recovery and help you with some useful tips
  • Breaking Free – continue and enhance your recovery with this podcast
  • Recovery Happy Hour – listen to some inspiring stories every Tuesday to let you stay on track

Ready to get help?

We offer high-quality rehabilitation & detoxification services tailored to your individual needs.

To discover your road to recovery, call us today on 0800 140 4690.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4199752/