Addiction Recovery During a Pandemic

May 11, 2020
With a population that relies primarily on in-person interactions for accountability and community strength, the current pandemic may be taking a larger toll on this group of individuals. To help, support groups, treatment centers and organizations across the U.S. are adjusting their services to offer accountability and community from afar. Treatment centers have extended their telehealth offerings for patients, promoting their service changes on social media and on their websites. Finding the right support group for you is essential, especially in times where we are isolated from others. The following contains information about addiction, resources available, and tips to work through recovery during these hard times that are also applicable to recovery in general.

The Signs of Drug and Alcohol Dependence
The signs aren’t always clear that you or someone you know has a dependence on drugs. It can take a while before you’re aware your intake has created an addiction. These are only a few of the signs you could have a substance abuse problem. It’s a subtle transition, but it’s important to keep an eye on your habits. It is important to know the signs of dependence:
  • Cravings – you think that you have to have it right now
  • Dependence – you depend on the substance to get through your day
  • Isolation – withdrawing from others, lying, avoidance
  • Money issues – you continue to use despite financial consequences
  • Neglect – you fail in obligations/responsibilities at work/home/school
  • Withdrawal – you get sick or feel pain after stopping use
How Does Addiction Work?
It is rare for you to wake up one day and think “I’m going to become addicted to something.” No one goes about their lives aiming for substance abuse. The problem with substances like drugs and alcohol is that they rewire the brains functions. Some drugs, like opiates, work by sending abnormal signals through the cells. This effects how certain areas of the brain perform, leading to addiction.

Addiction is a process which means that recovery will be too. It is very easy to fall into relapse justifications such as “one drink won’t hurt,” or “just this once.” Intervention in the addiction and relapse processes are essential for a successful recovery process. Next we will look at a few tips to help make recovery a little easier.

Tips for the First 90 Days of Addiction Recovery
The first 90 days of addiction recovery are some of the hardest and most rewarding times of your sobriety. Some recovery programs mention attending “90 meetings in 90 days” to help reinforce sobriety and hold an individual accountable. In addition to seeking treatment for your addiction/substance use issues, here are a few tips to work through the first several months of recovery.
  • Create and keep a schedule
  • Make sober support meetings a priority
  • Find and stay in contact with your sponsor
  • Continue seeing your doctors and therapists
  • Create a safe environment for yourself
  • Ask for help from your loved ones
  • Make a list of goals that support your recovery
  • Pay attention to your diet, sleep and physical activity
  • Don’t rush back to work/school
  • Avoid major life changes
  • Celebrate your successes (even the small ones)
  • Stay grateful
Consistency and practice are key. Remember that just because it doesn’t work for you the first time, that doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve it.

Addiction didn’t stop just because the pandemic started, and neither should recovery. It is important, now more than ever, to utilize outside resources to continue working through addiction and substance use issues, as well as taking care of your mental health. At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, Inc. we are making sure to be there for you and your needs during this time by offering telehealth services for mental health and substance use treatment.

Resources for Individuals and Families

For Individuals:
https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/about-us/news-media/coronavirus-disease-response/free-recovery-resources?utm_source=corporate-marketing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=63543

https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

https://www.smartrecovery.org/community/

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/therapy-treatment/12-step-alternatives

For Families:
https://www.greenhousetreatment.com/blog/helping-your-loved-one/

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/family-friend-portal/tips-help-cope/#gref