The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of people feeling isolated and lonely as they continue to stay home and avoid social events as a precautionary measure. It was nearly a year ago that the virus placed virtually every country in the world in a position to mandate lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to help stop the spread. These measures are particularly important for high-risk individuals, including people in addiction treatment and recovery who may have a dual-diagnosis or medical issues.
People in recovery who have been social distancing are likely feeling the effects of not seeing friends and family or enjoying their usual hobbies that have been helping them stay on their recovery journey. With the threat of triggers looming, combating loneliness during these times is essential for those in recovery to prevent relapse. While it may be challenging, there are some simple and effective ways for people to get through the rest of the pandemic stir-craziness and maintain sobriety in recovery.
It’s simple to tell someone to “stay busy,” but it’s even more critical that people in recovery occupy themselves in productive ways that can also aid them in their continuous work on self-improvement. With the internet making it easier than ever to pick up a new hobby or interest, activities such as making art, learning a new language or skill, and other opportunities, a world of wonder is at one’s fingertips.
Early during social distancing, people likely had much more momentum than they do now, a year into the pandemic that has changed the way we live. For people in recovery especially, it’s a great time to renew motivation with goal-setting and ideas for the near future now that the vaccines have been rolling out and some sense of social normalcy is imminent. Planning events for post-pandemic life can revive some enthusiasm for those who have been feeling low.
Being alone and feeling lonely are two separate things but are not mutually exclusive. For those in recovery who cannot safely see friends and family, seeking support from others, even virtually, can make a world of difference. Many online recovery communities are taking full advantage of video chatrooms and various apps that help people get through their isolation while still being able to meet and speak to new people and share experiences virtually.
Addiction effects on relationships can be difficult for many in recovery, and a worldwide pandemic doesn’t make it any easier for those who are looking to rebuild their lives and make amends with their loved ones. While it’s normal for loneliness to fester due to isolation and social distancing during these unprecedented times, those in recovery are especially urged to focus on ways to combat loneliness and negative emotions that were once numbed by substance misuse continue their journey towards long-lasting sobriety and health.