Living through a global pandemic presents many challenges most of us have never faced. It is natural to feel stressed and uncertain. The emotional strain caused by restrictions on social contact can be especially difficult if someone is isolated or feels pressure to provide for themselves, their family, and other loved ones during these extraordinary times. At the same time, social media is full of messages, memes, and jokes about using alcohol and other substances as accepted and expected coping mechanisms. For people in recovery or those who live with addiction, stressful times like these can lead to relapse or increases in substance use and misuse.

“Addiction thrives in isolation and dies in community — but this is a conundrum during the pandemic, because every day we’re being reminded to keep our distance and stop connecting in our usual ways,” said Brad Anderson, MD, chief of addiction medicine for Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Oregon. “Addiction is a daily disease, but many of the everyday interactions that people rely on when they’re struggling with substance use disorders have either fallen away or become much more challenging to navigate.”

Dealing with panic and fear is difficult enough even for people with many years of sobriety under their belts. Even people who don’t have substance use issues before the pandemic began could develop problems as they isolate themselves alone at home with alcohol at hand.

There are somethings that you can focus on during the pandemic that can help you manage your addiction recovery:

  • Stay connected with people
  • Contact a Sober Coach
  • Keep up with your routines
  • Trust those who know you best
  • Ask for help
  • Do not give up

Dealing with the difficulties of a pandemic on a daily basis is difficult for all of us, but for those suffering from addiction and other mental health issues, the challenges are compounded. If you are seeking help, you can reach us anytime using calling 800-399-6586 or brian@sobercoach.com. You can also find us on Facebook (SoberCoach.com) or Twitter (@SoberCoach_com).