Self-isolation and boredom are often triggers for people in recovery from substance use. This is a common problem during normal times, and now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more of an issue than ever before.

With shelter-in-place orders spreading quickly across the country, many people in recovery are being cut off from their support groups, counselors, and other treatment services.

This is a difficult time for everyone, and people in recovery are particularly at risk of relapse.

Here are 5 tips for coping with isolation during your addiction recovery:

1. Connect with your support groups, sponsor, and counselors online

The most important aspect of your recovery is to maintain your essential relationships with your sponsor, support group, or counselor online.

The nature of your interactions, and therefore your relationship, may have to change and evolve. It will require you to be more proactive, as there won’t be as many social responsibilities to hold you accountable.

However, you’ll need to maintain these relationships in order to continue your recovery in isolation and to prevent relapse.

2. Reach out to your support system

During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to remain connected and for support systems to help each other. There’s no shame in needing help in these trying times.

Reach out to your support network and check in. Each day may be a new battle for you, and you never know what your friends are thinking, so maintaining daily contact could mean the difference between relapsing and staying sober.

3. Arrange and participate in social events online

There are tons of ways to connect with your friends digitally now. Video calling makes it easier than ever to stay in touch. You can set up game nights, watch Netflix together, or just hang out and chat.

You can use WhatsApp, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Houseparty, or any other video chatting software.

4. Stay active and healthy

It’s easier to handle your triggers if you’re taking care of yourself. Eating properly, sleeping well, and exercising regularly will help keep your body and mind in shape to manage your HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) emotions.

When you’re staying healthy, you’ll be able to identify when you’re feeling any of these emotions and take action rather than reacting. This will help you stay in the driver’s seat and manage your emotions, reducing your chance of lapse or relapse.

5. Learn something new

By now, you’ve probably heard celebrities, co-workers, or friends talking about how they’re going to use this time to finally chase their passion, or do that one thing they have been putting off their whole life. Maybe you’ve even felt inspired to do the same.

That’s great! We now have a tremendous amount of time on our hands, and there are limitless options for what to do with it.

However, learning something new doesn’t mean you have to take a college-level course, or learn how to do acroyoga, or start practicing calligraphy.

You can simply try a new recipe. Use a new workout routine. Read a book in a genre you never thought you’d like.

You don’t need to reinvent yourself, but trying something new might stimulate your mind and keep you occupied during these strange times.

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