Have You Relapsed Thanks to COVID? What to Do Now
COVID-19 has changed so much of your life. Relationships, finances, work, and even self-confidence may be different now. Extra stressors in these areas put you at risk for relapse. If you’ve started to turn to drugs or alcohol again, you may feel unsure of your next step. How do you get help?
You’re Not Alone in This Battle
One of the most important things to know about relapse during COVID-19 is that you’re not the only person to go through it. Despite the lack of data about relapse due to the pandemic, we do know that social distancing, political upheaval, and incredible life changes don’t create an easy path for men and women with addiction. All of this stress compounds day after day. You may feel:
- Lonely: Social distancing helps to keep germs from spreading. But it also creates barriers to accessing the support of loved ones on your rough days. This leads to loneliness, one of the most common causes of relapse.
- Depressed or Anxious: Many people with addiction also struggle with mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. The pandemic has heightened mental health concerns, creating more intense and frequent symptoms. You may feel anxious all of the time.
- Bored: Staying busy is a big part of staying sober. Working, going to school, spending time with friends, and supporting important organizations helps you to keep your mind busy. It also ensures you’re focused on the positives in your life. When socialization and active involvement in life are limited, relapse may occur.
You’re stuck at home, struggling with anxiety and depression, and often removed from your friends who offer social support. Even as some of the world comes back online, you may find it hard to get back to life. If you’ve thought about alcohol or drugs frequently, or you’ve used them, it’s time to seek out help.
What to Do After Relapse
Even if you had just one small slip, be active in seeking help. The sooner you get back into therapy, the better. The type of care you need right now will vary depending on your circumstances, but here are some factors to consider.
- Call your mentor
One drink leads to another. The more you use, the more likely you will continue to use. That’s why it’s important to call your mentor right away. They will hold you accountable. Discuss what happened, why, and what you plan to do about it. By simply sharing this information with your mentor, you’re making the right first step back towards sobriety.
- Go (or return) to an addiction treatment program
The National Institute on Drug Abuse makes it clear: 40 to 60 percent of people with addiction will relapse. What they do after that happens defines their long-term health. Getting back into treatment is important. Call your counselor to discuss your situation. They will help you determine the right treatment plan for you. All forms of drug and alcohol treatment are available to you during COVID-19.
- Detox – You may benefit from enrolling in detox if you are actively using right now. If you’ve relapsed and cannot stop using, detox is sometimes necessary.
- Residential Treatment – Entering back into a residential treatment program is often best for most people. It allows you to step away from the triggers impacting you right now so you can focus on your recovery.
- Outpatient Treatment – Some people may be able to just use outpatient treatment. If you’ve only used once and are not having intense cravings or withdrawal, your counselor may recommend this level of care. You should have a stable home life with ample support available to you.
Relapse can sometimes feel like starting over. That’s because you are, in a way. But this time, you have a lot more experience and you know just how good a healthy, sober life can be. Even if you’re overwhelmed with the COVID-19 pandemic and feel unable to get through the day without using, know that you can break free and find treatment available to you.
Let Us Help
The only decision you have to make right now is to act. Your relapse prevention and support team at Victory Addiction Recovery Center would love to talk with you.
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