When you are going through treatment, worry about relapse is just part of the process. Relapse is an even bigger concern in the pandemic area. In one New Jersey center, 11 out of 12 members of a support group relapsed once the first lockdown order came down. For one, relapse occurred in days, and another within the first week. At a recovery center like Ascendant New York, they know this is something you are worried about and are they here for you throughout the entire process. You are not alone. Avoid these 3 relapse triggers as much as you can, and contact help for support when you are struggling.
Covid-19 Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety levels have gone up in America since the pandemic began. In 2019, it was estimated that 1 in 10 American adults was struggling with anxiety or depression. Today, the number has risen to 4 in 10. The entire world is stressing out. Stress is a leading cause of triggering a relapse. When it feels like you can’t cope with what is in front of you, your first instinct may be to turn to a drink or substance use again.
Find ways to decrease the amount of stress in your life to avoid a stress-induced relapse. Stay away from the news, don’t go out if you don’t have to, and rely on your support systems. You know who loves you.
Social Groups and Old Friends
You may have been part of social groups and old friends, and sometimes even family members that were part of why you became an addict. Maybe you hung out with them regularly and had drinks with them, or they were the ones that encouraged you to get high. These may not be the kind of people with your bests interests at heart.
Stay away from them completely if you can, but if you can’t, avoid their social gatherings until this fear of relapse is no longer a concern. Make new friends through your meetings, Zoom events, and support groups. Fill up your time with them so that you aren’t encouraged to slip.
Social Events, Holidays, and Parties
We live in a world where the temptation to relapse is always around the next corner. It’s impossible to avoid social events, holiday gatherings, and parties, even during a pandemic. People are still getting married, graduating, and having birthdays. The likelihood that there will be temptations at these events is greater than any other day in your week. One good thing related to relapse in a pandemic is that there are fewer people at these events than prior to the pandemic, so this also means fewer temptations.
If you can, avoid these events. If you can’t, set up a schedule or system for the day of the event that includes avoiding temptation as much as possible. Bring a buddy, your sponsor, or a member of your support system to keep you grounded during this very common relapse trigger.
Keep Taking One Day at a Time
If you are worried about relapse during the pandemic, you are not alone. It is estimated that the relapse rate, pandemic or not, can be as high as 60 percent. Usually, the rates are between 40 and 60 percent. It’s a very real possibility that this could happen to you. Avoid stress, social gatherings, and old friends to help you avoid relapse.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that even if it does happen, it does not mean that your treatment or your journey has been a complete fail. Some people do relapse. It’s the science of addiction. Keep taking one day at a time, and call a recovery center when you need a little extra support.