Alcohol and lockdown have been very unfortunate bedfellows this year. And, while a lot of people have enjoyed creating and sharing memes across the internet joking about how much they have been drinking in lockdown, there have been a lot of people for whom this period has been no laughing matter. In fact, in a study from alcoholchange.org into people’s drinking habits during lockdown:
“One in five (21%) current and former drinkers said they were drinking more often during lockdown, while just one in ten (9%) drank less often and 55% stayed the same. The amount people drank on a typical day does not seem to have shifted as much: 13% of current and former drinkers said their typical number of units had increased, 12% said it had dropped, and 60% said it was unchanged.”
Furthermore, their research showed a 242% increase in visits to alcoholchange.org’s advice and support pages this year between 23rd March and 23rd June in comparison to the identical period in 2019, with “one in five (19%) of those surveyed [saying they have] drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during lockdown.”
With these unsettling statistics in mind, as well as the stresses of the world around us at present, it is important to try and think of ways to keep your mind away from alcohol, and drugs, during this period.
So, we wanted to go through some tips on staying sober during the ongoing pandemic which will help you manage your addictive compulsions, and hopefully give you some advice on how to live with an alcoholic in some form, be it living with an alcoholic partner or an alcoholic parent.
Put Together A Plan For Staying Connected To Your Support Network
First of all, simply remaining in contact with friends, family, sponsors, or anyone who supports you when you are feeling overwhelmed is vitally important during this period.
With lockdowns being imposed on varying restrictions and a general sense of uncertainty, we can feel isolated and alone at present. Therefore, try to come up with a schedule as to when you will make sure you will check-in with someone who supports you, be it a sponsor or a friend.
Also, try to make this contact as personable as possible, by which we mean to make sure it is a phone call or a video call, as texting can still cause you to feel isolated. Hearing someone’s voice can do your mental health the world of good, and they can help keep you on the right track.
Look Into And Take Advantage Of Online Addiction Resources
There has been a lot of AA and other substance abuse recovery groups having to suspend in-person meetings at the present moment; however, that does not mean you cannot necessarily attend local, or distant, meetings with other people via the internet.
Across the internet, there are a wide variety of free-to-use online group sessions and rosters that you can get access to from your smartphone, laptop, or computer, including the likes of The Token Shop Online AA Meetings, Secular AA Meetings, In The Rooms Global Recovery Community, Virtual NA, Recovery Dharma Online.
You can also find many apps on app stores which will help you to network with other recovering addicts and form support groups even in this socially distant time, such as: Sober Grid, SoberTool, AA Big Book Free, and many more!
Try To Practice Positive Mindfulness And Wellbeing
Words like “wellness” and “mindfulness” can often be portrayed as simply tools that elitist, self-aggrandising people who work in HR use to justify their existence; however, in reality, the process of making sure that you are taking care of your body and mind is something that the importance of which cannot be understated.
Basically, try to escape from the trappings your own head and be present in the moment.
Simple things such as making sure that you get out of the house for a walk, eating healthily, trying to practice meditation, taking up an old hobby, or journaling your feelings can make sure that you do not get sucked into negative thought patterns which can lead to addiction.
It is also imperative that you frequently remind yourself that this current situation is not going to exist forever, and things will get back to normal.
Remain Alert To Your Thoughts And Addictive Triggers Both Old And New
Even throughout social distancing, it is important to especially avoid individuals and locations that can lead you into avenues of negative thoughts and cravings which may contribute to a risk of relapsing.
Furthermore, and more importantly now, you must be continually aware of new triggers that could develop while you are confined to your home. Be aware of new habits and routines of behaviour that you are adopting which may lead to negative tendencies.
Talking to your support network about these habits, and practising good wellbeing will help alleviate the stress of these things as well.
Consider Reaching Out To A Professional
While the virtual support groups can provide someone with invaluable support, if you still are finding that you’re becoming overwhelmed by thoughts of relapsing, it is of paramount importance that you consider reaching out to your doctor or therapist immediately.
A lot of professional healthcare providers, such as us at Nova Recovery, have been finding ways to make sure that those suffering from addiction, or struggling to stay clean, still have access to professional aid — be it through video chats when a physical consultation isn’t viable.
This has been a hard year for everyone, and you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of uncertainty that this year has lumped into everyone’s lives. If you need any more help with your addiction or the addiction of someone close to you, then please call Nova Recovery for a free chat today on 01475 303998.Back to all posts