The ultimate goal after completing a drug or alcohol treatment program is maintaining the path of sobriety. Staying clear of drugs and alcohol, avoiding temptation, preventing yourself from falling into old habits, and practicing healthy coping skills daily can help lead you to a clean and sober life. Recovery and sobriety may look different during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses begin to re-open. You may feel more anxious going out in public, you may find yourself more isolated, and you may find that not all businesses are operating at full capacity, which may test your patience. How can you navigate recovery during COVID-19 when businesses are beginning to re-open? Is there a roadmap to successful sobriety? Unfortunately, there are no black and white guidebooks that tell you step-by-step how to remain sober indefinitely, especially during these trying times. However, you can adopt important habits and behaviors that will help you maintain your sobriety after treatment.
Make and embrace change
As bars and restaurants begin to re-open it may be tempting to socialize with old friends at these establishments, especially after being in isolation and practicing social distancing for such a long period. It may be wise to stay away from establishments that serve alcohol, especially if you feel tempted.
If you are attempting to stay clean for the long haul, you must ditch your old routines and habits and reconsider the individuals you surround yourself with. To develop a successful sober lifestyle, some of the immediate changes you will need to make will be obvious, such as not hanging around the individuals you did drugs with or obtaining drugs from. You cannot hang around your old drinking buddies and expect to remain sober for very long. Making new friends who support your sobriety is an essential part of this change. Additionally, adopting new routines, healthy eating patterns, and positive hobbies is a great way to make new changes.
Develop a structured schedule
Sleep patterns, weekly meetings, and exercise routines are necessary to stay on track in your sobriety. Sticking to an organized plan can reduce your chances of relapse as disorganization and chaos can hinder your recovery. Carve out specific times each day to focus on yourself, your family, work, and sobriety. Since coffee shops, bookstores, and gyms are now re-opened you can socialize at these establishments without having the temptation to consume alcohol.
You do not have to join a gym or sign up for a marathon, but moving your body for 20 minutes a day in some capacity can help you remain sober. Physical activities can reduce stress, decrease boredom, and increase self-esteem. Exercising outdoors is even more beneficial, but since gyms and fitness studios are now re-opening, you may want to work out with a trainer or a fitness coach.
Develop healthy relationships
Before you can develop healthy relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners, you may need to learn what “healthy” means. An addiction can often blur the lines of healthy and toxic, and therefore, you may need to go to counseling to learn how to recognize and adopt healthy behaviors with yourself and others. Avoiding co-dependent, toxic, and enabling relationships and cutting off anyone in your life who is not supportive of you is the first step in managing healthy relationships with others.
Face your past mistakes
For many, getting sobriety means taking a look in the mirror and recognizing that they may have harmed individuals they care about during their addiction. Maybe you lied to someone, treated your family member poorly, stole from a friend, ignored someone who asked for your help. Shame is described as having negative beliefs about yourself and your self-worth. Guilt is having negative feelings about your past behavior. Individuals in recovery can experience a lot of shame simply for having become addicted in the first place. Be honest with yourself and others, admit your mistakes, make amends, and take responsibility for any hurt you may have caused.
Stay in therapy
Whether you continue to attend outpatient therapy once a week, join an online support group or go to community support meetings, it is important that you stick to a sobriety program and surround yourself with others in the same boat as you. As treatment centers, mental health offices, and support group meetings begin to open, you can now connect with like-minded people without having to rely on teletherapy.
By attending meetings and therapy, you are allowing yourself to learn and practice new coping skills and allow others to hold you accountable in case you slip up. Sobriety is a long term and even a lifelong process. Many individuals will attend support groups for years to connect with their community and continue to grow within their recovery.
Social distance and wear a mask
This is probably the most critical aspect of maintaining your recovery respectfully as businesses learn to navigate their reopening. Wearing a mask abiding by the rules and social distancing are signs of respect and courteous behavior that can protect you and others and help businesses stay open.
Casa Palmera can help
At Casa Palmera, our goal is whole-person healing; we treat the whole person and not just the disorder. Our dedicated treatment team goes underneath the surface of a presenting problem to determine the underlying triggers and address the root so that it doesn’t manifest itself in other ways. Our goal is not to treat the wound with a Band-Aid but instead develop a permanent solution to problems that prevent you from living your happiest and healthiest life. Our clinical staff works with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that includes therapy approaches for your specific needs and tools that will improve your life on a holistic level. Learn more about Casa Palmera here and see how Casa Palmera’s programs can transform your mind, body, and soul.