Relapses Increase Amidst COVID
Since the beginning of the coronavirus, there has been a rise in drug and alcohol abuse. The CDC reported almost 71,000 overdoses in 2019, with 50,042 of those cases opioid-related. In the first four months of 2020, there was an 11.4% increase in overdose cases.
This rapid rise of drug consumption in America, an epidemic within a pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. One may assume this is due to stay home orders and restrictions put in place across the US. Boredom sets in, and idle hands do not always make the right choices.
With widespread layoffs and furloughs, children unable to attend school, and millions on lockdown, some degree of anxiety has set in as thoughts run wild. Many have run out of things to keep us occupied or the funds to provide a distraction. When you add addiction to that mix, it ends in disaster.
Relapse rates have dramatically increased since ex-addicts have been left to their own devices. Live meetings and support groups have been replaced by Zoom, while not everyone has the access to attend. Safety nets once in place; sponsors, weekly church visits, or counseling sessions are available on a limited basis or not at all.
Demand for beds in treatment centers, yet lack of availability is catastrophic. The aftermath is addicts overdosing. The shift in attention to COVID has pushed aside the centuries-long issue of addiction. Already stretched-thin financial resources have been diverted to the pandemic, however, opioid addiction is no less an issue.
We want to help everyone we can who is struggling themselves or knows someone who may be and give some valuable advice on how to stay sober during these devastating times.
- Keep in contact with family as often as possible. It will make all the difference to have someone you can talk to who will help give you the motivation to keep your head up and push through.
- Stay on a routine and try to not veer from it. Everyday tasks can fill up a lot of time but always have back up ideas if something falls through.
- Document the tasks needing to be done so you have everything itemized.
Include what items you may need for the tasks, so they are gathered and available when you get to it.
- Take time to learn something. It can be as minute as learning a word to something as big as learning a new language. Knowledge is power, and anyone can accomplish goals no matter how minuscule or extravagant they may be. The drive to do so and having the mindset of getting it done is vital.
- Know you are not alone. Thousands of people in the US have the same struggle to stay sober. Sobriety is not an easy goal. If you know someone struggling, try reaching out to them, they may need someone to confide in.
- Stick to your moral code. Keeping your integrity intact is vital to sobriety. When you start to detour from ethical behavior, guilt begins to set in, and life can snowball out of control from there.
- Stay safe and wear masks.
Sanitize all surfaces as often as possible to diminish the spread of germs. Practice social distancing, and we can all help end this pandemic.
- Try to contribute to the solutions, not the problems. We have many things that need to be solved—the loneliness in isolation, children who do not have outlets for their energy, people who have become despondent over their financial situation. Recognize the need for us to work together and find actions you can take each day to ease the suffering of yourself, your family, and your fellow mankind.