If you have a history of addiction, maintaining healthy behaviours and avoiding relapse can be more difficult while self-isolating or in quarantine. We know that some people will need lots of support to maintain the progress they’ve made so far. With that in mind, here are some useful tips to reducing harm and avoiding a lapse while in recovery.
Engage with positive support networks and support groups – Although we are currently all being asked to stay indoors, it’s important that you find ways to engage with others who are actively working towards a healthier lifestyle so that you stay motivated and on track. Get in touch with the organisations and groups you have been attending and find out how they can offer you support in these unusual times. Many will be able to offer telephone or online support in the interim period which will be vital to helping you stay positive.
Family support is important – if you’re living in a family unit, take comfort from their love and support and gain comfort from showing them the same. These are really hard times for everyone and its not surprising if we all feel afraid from time to time. Make the most of those around you. If you’re living apart from your family, stay in touch by phone or video calls if you can. It will help you (and them) to feel less lonely, which will help you avoid lapses that can occur when you feel isolated.
HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired – Monitoring these four things is crucial. Acting on a thought, feeling or emotion when angry, hungry, lonely or tired can be detrimental to your recovery. Eat regularly and as healthily as possible, stay as calm as possible by using meditation or relaxation techniques and make sure you get plenty of sleep. These steps coupled with staying in touch with family and friends will go a long way to keeping your emotions stable and prevent you making impulsive decisions.
Access all available support – Accessing all the support available will help you have the best possible chance of staying abstinent. Support can be found in a variety of places. Firstly, online apps on smartphones such as Nomo and Sobertime offer motivation, tips and useful resources to somebody in recovery as well as online forums for others in recovery to help each other. Added to this local counselling services are available nationwide, either free through the NHS with longer waiting times or privately, usually with short waiting times. Parkland Place staff are available to contact 24/7 should you have any concerns, need any information or simply wish to speak to somebody. We are happy to offer support and guidance.
Try to stay physically and mentally active - If you are self-isolating, giving your day structure can be a good idea, with different activities planned for different times. If you can, try to fit in some physical exercise, in line with government guidance on leaving your home.
If you find it difficult to fill the time, why not try something new? It could be experimenting with a new recipe, reading something different, using the internet to find out about a particular subject, sewing, sourcing new music, origami, keeping a diary or blog, scrapbooking, watching a new box set… the list goes on!
Know when to ask for help – If things become unmanageable, contact your medical team, the people who usually support you or your GP and they will be able to arrange support for you. Even during these challenging times there will be help available for you when you need it.