How Isolation Stunts Recovery

Woman in a mask is looking outside the window
Photo by MarioGuti/

In today’s world, isolation is a fairly common problem for everyone. A subpopulation that has a significantly hard time with this is addicts. One of the first hurdles they must overcome is the fact they have burned many bridges in their lives so repairing these relationships is the first and likely the biggest hurdle to face after leaving treatment. While family members often try and give the addict the benefit of the doubt, even small actions may cause the family to question and wonder. If this is not handled correctly, it can cause an addict to either turn away from their families’ support or the family decides on their own to cut them off.

Recently this situation has become even more rampant due to the spread of COVID 19 since families are dealing with forced separation, not by choice. The separation caused by regional “stay at home” orders have been difficult for most everyone. Those in recovery are at a higher risk of relapse due to isolation. Since one of the primary reasons many addicts use drugs in the first place is, they struggle with facing problems and use drugs to cope, isolating them can trigger past patterns of use.

I wanted to take the time and share some of the things I have done during this time of increased stress to help reduce stress.

For me, the main thing that helps me is keeping busy. It takes a little bit of imagination, but there are many things you can do to keep moving. For me, that is having a routine and sticking with it. On my days off, I wake up, make breakfast, and read for a bit. Then I clean, and once I am done with that, I will sit down and play some guitar. After that, I will either do some yard work or work out inside if the weather is terrible. After that, I make something to eat and watch TV for a little while.

Next, I will go and draw until it is time for dinner and either cook dinner or order take out. To end the day, I will usually watch a movie and then play video games until I get tired and sleep. Throughout my day, I mix in personal calls and group family zooms.

This may not be the same every day, but it is enough that I do not sit around and think about the past which would likely result in my getting upset. I understand this may not work for everyone, but maybe this will help some of you.

One of the most important things is to keep busy and do things that help you feel you are still moving forward, despite the lockdown. If you are in addiction recovery, you have a higher need than the average person to stay away from going into dark places mentally since you have a history of making destructive decisions. If you are struggling to remain sober, seek out help. Do not push off getting support until a relapse occurs.

If you are currently using and need help getting sober, call us today. We have caring professionals standing by to help you.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.