Choosing to be sober is a daily reality for those in recovery. It demands their awareness, commitment, a strong support network, and perhaps even work with a reliable therapist in Redondo Beach. However, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the people and services that hold you up may be limited.
The situation is worse for those maintaining sobriety—routines are interrupted, the feeling of being alone is inevitable, and depression, stress, and anxiety triggers are everywhere.
If you find yourself getting bad again, here are some tips to help you stick to staying sober..
10 Tips to Staying Sober During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1 – Stay Busy
- Isolation and boredom are strong drivers of addiction relapse, and both are inevitable in times of mandated quarantine and social distancing. Keep these feelings at bay by finding activities to keep you preoccupied. Here are some suggestions:
- Play video games.
Binge-watch movies or TV shows.
Read a book, or ten!
Listen to podcasts.
Start a diary.
2 – Set Boundaries with Roommates or Family
Things can get stressful if you’re stuck with family or roommates 24/7. While that is normal, personal space is extremely important for those on the road to recovery and trying to keep sane. Set your boundaries.
For instance, ask kids or family members to give you alone time for an hour every night. If you’re staying sober from alcohol and your roommate enjoys having a glass of wine every night, talking to him or her about keeping the habit private in a different room could help you stay away from the trigger.
3 – Follow a Routine
Maintaining a healthy routine is hard when even global systems have been turned upside-down. But keeping small practices in place will help you feel in control.
For instance, set your alarm at a specific time for each morning, so you wake up at a fixed time every day even if you don’t have to leave for work. Wake up slowly, without rushing to the next activity. For example, stretch after you get up, drink a glass of water, and use the bathroom to freshen up.
You can also create a schedule, so you can go about your day without getting too lost in any one activity. Set specific hours for exercise, work, coffee and meal breaks, house chores, and private time in your routine.
4 – Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Slowing things down helps in achieving control and inner peace and quiet, which is essential for people trying to stay sober. Mindfulness meditation allows you to be completely aware and in control of your thoughts and surroundings.
Mindfulness also paves the way to fully understanding your feelings and reactions to things. Thus, it opens your brain to recognizing triggers and training it to evade it or produce a healthier response to it, in place of drinking or doing drugs.
- To further elaborate on mindfulness meditation, here are the skills required in its practice:
Letting go of judgment, which means focusing on the moment and accepting it as it is
Close observation, which involves using your five senses to experience the moment and environment you are in
Description, which is being able to put into words your thoughts and feelings
Participation, which is allowing your mind to run in an auto-pilot mode without being self-conscious about it
Kindness towards one’s self, which involves accepting that the practice can fail at times and that you need time to master it
5 – Join Online Recovery Communities
If you miss the stabilizing energy of going to group therapy, there are websites, forums, and social media groups for recovering addicts. Some even set up video meetings to share their experiences and gain insights from the different stories.
Just like in group therapy, you don’t always have to participate. You can simply listen or read messages in the chatroom and learn how other people with the same condition deal with the current pandemic.
6 – Practice Self-Care
As stated earlier, having control of the small things can help you stay sober. Care for yourself by eating a healthy diet, getting enough good-quality sleep, taking a shower daily, working out, and taking time off when things get hectic. Continue to look after your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
7 – Recalibrate or Set New Goals
Reevaluate your personal goals. It’s very likely that any plans made at the beginning of the year are now incompatible with the current global situation. This can be a stressor at best and a trigger at worst.
Take some time to recalibrate your expectations about the future. Do you need to adjust your deadlines? Do you need to change your approach? Or perhaps, have some completely new and unexpected opportunities presented themselves?
Go ahead and change your plans if you need to. That is not failing—on the contrary, it’s being realistic and adaptable to shifting times.
8 – Limit the Time You Spend Reading Upsetting News
Too much information can be overwhelming, and the internet can be a breeding ground for anxiety, depression, and stress triggers.
While it’s important to stay updated about current events—especially news related to your safety—if what you’re reading is beginning to make you feel out of control, go offline.
Stay grounded by diverting your attention to things that you can influence instead, such as tending your garden, cleaning your house, and others.
9 – Don’t Be Hard on Yourself If You Relapse
Part of the journey towards sobriety is overcoming challenges, including relapse. The key is to slowly get back up on your feet. Start again—there’s always room for improvement, even for strategies for recovery.
Reach out to friends and family if you need to, and be open to suggestions. Accepting that your efforts need more work and that you need the help of external intervention will keep you from beating yourself up.
10 – Seek the Help of a Professional
Just because you can’t see a therapist in person doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to one at all! Many therapists are aware that clients need more support than ever during this pandemic. Telehealth services, like video chats and online consultations, are available.
Visit an Addiction Therapist in Redondo Beach
If you are in the South Bay area and need some help staying sober, South Bay LA Therapy caters to trauma, addiction, and anger conditions.
Vonique “Vo" Schmidt is a Redondo Beach addiction therapist licensed in professional clinical counseling. Reduced brief-term rates are available for online therapy sessions that can transition to in-person sessions when the COVID-19 situation improves.
Contact South Bay LA Therapy today by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!