Isolation is a key contributor to substance abuse relapse. In a time when quarantine is necessary, it’s vital to prioritize your mental and emotional wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching effects, and those in drug rehabilitation are no exception. Mix the inherent challenges of loneliness in recovery with the anxiety and uncertainty delivered with a global pandemic, and the outcome can be emotionally-strained days or weeks.
An important aspect of recovery from substance use disorder is group support. Whether that comes in the form of organized rehab meetings or emotional support from family and friends, the company of others who support your sobriety invites you to stay healthy. When that support is suddenly taken away, it’s natural and completely acceptable to feel lonely and confused. However, there are ways to find calm and strength amidst the challenges presented while recovering during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Combat Loneliness in Recovery
The fear of the unknown, which is heavily present during the ongoing health crisis, can be most concerning for those who turn to illicit drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Hospitals are often overcrowded, making even safe-havens unavailable. For those battling loneliness in recovery, there are a few exercises that can help remind you of your original purpose in getting and remaining sober:
Make a phone call.
In an age when texting is the norm, hearing a voice can be comforting. Talk to a friend, family member, or counselor. Simply hearing their voice can remind you that you’re not in this alone.
Schedule weekly video chats.
Create something to look forward to with a group of friends or family. Find a day of the week that works for everyone to join a FaceTime, Zoom, or other video chat tool. Seeing familiar faces will help ease your concerns.
Studies show that exercise helps distract from the cravings of drugs or alcohol.  In addition, workouts help manage depression and anxiety, improving your mental health.
Find a recovery-based Facebook group.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many online support groups. It can now be as easy as searching for a group on your Facebook app and connecting with others overcoming the same challenges.
Book a telehealth appointment.
While you may not visit your normal counselor or physician, you can explore telehealth options when you need extra physical or mental support. Bonus – many health insurance plans cover telehealth appointments!
Get professional support.
Research drug rehabilitation facilities still open during the health crisis. Many facilities closed or stopped accepting new patients. Ocean Hills Recovery remains open and is accepting clients for all levels of care.
It’s important to note that as you research California rehab facilities, be certain that proper safety and health precautions are being followed to protect you and others from the risk of COVID-19. Ocean Hills Recovery follows all California Department of Public Health guidelines and has increased sanitation processes.
Experiencing Loneliness in Recovery? Support your Mental Health in Recovery
Finding a place of calm and inner strength is needed now more than ever. As you work through feelings of isolation and loneliness in recovery, take time to reflect on why you began your journey to sobriety. You may find that many mental health-based exercises will support you through this time. For example, now is the time to explore:
You may share your written thoughts with a friend during a group Zoom meeting or keep them to yourself. Writing down how you feel will give your emotions an escape. Consider jotting down a thought of gratitude each time you write. List at least one moment, person, or thought from your day for which you’re thankful.
You don’t have to sit on the floor for an hour in silence. Even five minutes of peace and permission to clear your mind can reset your outlook.
Do you enjoy reading? Building? Or, perhaps you’re an artist at heart. Find a project that you lose yourself in, even if only for a few hours.
Combat Loneliness in Recovery & Get Help to Avoid Relapse
If you or someone you love needs support through recovery, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. The caring, knowledgeable staff will explain rehabilitation options and create a personalized plan for sobriety just for you. Contact our team today to learn more about healing from the loneliness in recovery.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.