Staying sober is all about consistency. But what happens when your life is drastically turned upside down because of a pandemic? What happens when you find yourself in the midst of a recession and those temptations start manifesting themselves? We’ve spoken to so many people that have literally said that they walked out of rehab and into a pandemic.
1. Understand the Connection Between Stress and Addiction
Stress can be your friend or your enemy. Some stress, such as the type that comes from positive changes in your life, new adventures, butterflies in the stomach (possibly a new love interest), can cause you to be more focused, more attentive, and ultimately less susceptible to succumbing to addiction. Harmful stress, which often comes from negative situations such as a loss of job/income, difficulty meeting financial responsibilities, health concerns of you or a loved one. Sounds like exactly where we find ourselves; pandemic, recession, uncertainty. Understanding this stress and identifying the danger for what it is, is an important first step in fighting it off. Life is about perspective. Obviously, we cannot delete stress from our lives, but we can remember one thing. We’ve been in some of the darkest places and made it out. Some of the other things that stress us out are trivial in comparison. There are things we can control and some things we cannot. But staying focused, staying consistent with our sobriety plan are some of the few things we can make sure we do.
2. Be Proactive
A recession is not a time to wait and see what happens. You must make things happen. If you lost your job, call every one of your lenders and explain to them your financial situation. We hear stories about people every day worried about paying their mortgage, rent, car loan, credit cards, and haven’t even called their lenders. Financial institutions are willing to work with you more than you imagine. The important thing is that you communicate with them. Check-in with them every 15 to 30 days to see what programs are in place and let them know your financial institution. If you’re worried about your credit, you’ll learn that many of the programs in place actually protect your credit.
3. Manage Your Input Information
As important as it is to stay up to date with the news, there is such a thing as overexposure. Check-in once in a while, but don’t let these horror news stories consume your day. If you’re on social media and find yourself triggered, exit the app. Call a friend, watch a movie, do something else! You may have a friend that is negative. Perhaps, hit the snooze button for 30 days. Keep your circle of friends positive and attend your meetings virtually if necessary.
4. Reach Out For Help
Fear and isolation can be two ingredients for disaster. Stay in close communication with your sponsor. Don’t be afraid to call friends and family who understand your struggles and tell them how you are doing. If you have a sponsee (or several), stay in close contact with them as well. Sometimes, the responsibility of helping someone can help you as well.