Tips For Staying Off Substances After The Pandemic
Let’s face it. The pandemic has not been easy for recovering addicts. Many of us have felt isolated and had much too much time on our hands. We were stuck in the exact type of environment that fosters addiction. It was a struggle to stay off substances.
But over time, these circumstances became the new normal. Many recovering addicts managed to stick it out, while others managed to get back on track after a relapse. And now we are heading to a post-pandemic reality.
In theory, getting back to normal should make staying off substances far easier. After all, we will be able to reinstate our support structures and simply have far more to do. However, because this way of life has become unfamiliar, it may be tough to navigate at first. We will once again have to deal with triggers that were absent for the past year.
Here are some tips for staying off substances after the pandemic.
Take it slow
Once everything is open again and it is safe to go out whenever we like, many people will rush to do the things they have missed doing. The impulse will be to go along with this, especially if our closest friends are doing so.
Unfortunately, these outings are likely to be approached with a fair amount of recklessness. Our non-addicted friends will be quick to get drunk or high, and will be less conscious of our challenges.
Take it slow in the first few weeks. While it will be tempting to participate in every night out, this might put you in contact with too many triggers. Go along to places you know will be safe, and avoid nightclubs and bars.
Rework your structure
Chances are you’ve developed a fairly effective schedule to your days in quarantine. This structure may not have been the most exciting, but it was crucial to staying off substances through the hardest times.
Instead of simply hoping to return to normal, rework your structure so that it is appropriate in a post-pandemic world. Keep the most effective and rewarding aspects, and pepper it with the outings you know will make it more potent and alive.
Therapy, support groups, and sponsors are certainly helpful as a recovering addict. But after a while, many people feel able to live healthy lives without some of these supports. Over the course of the pandemic, you may have decreased the frequency of your therapy sessions and stopped talking to your support groups and sponsors.
Now is the time to get these supports back in place. Make a plan to see your therapist weekly for the first couple of months post-pandemic. Speak to the people you trust who are going through the same struggles as you.
It is worth taking on this extra support, if only for the short term, as you adapt to a once-familiar way of life.