Staying sober while there is a pandemic happening is not easy. It takes work and it definitely takes commitment to get through every day without being tempted to have just one drink or just one hit. The uncertainty of what’s going to happen to my health, my job, and the people I love took its toll on me. There were moments when I was even amazed at myself at how I was able to pull through.
I am not perfect so I cannot say 100% that I won’t make a mistake ever again. But as I wake up each day, I remind myself that I should be thankful for what I have and I should not waste this chance to have another shot at life. My sobriety is a gift that I should treasure and I have to keep working hard to keep it.
So, what did I do to remain sober during these difficult times? Here are the things that helped me and I do hope that this could also inspire other people who are on the same recovery journey. As the saying goes, the journey will not be an easy one, but the destination will be worth it.
I got rid of temptation
Still have a hidden bottle of booze somewhere in your house? Better get rid of it. I made sure I did. This greatly lessened the chances of me drinking on impulse or waking up in the middle of the night reaching for a glass of wine (or a bottle). I know that you might be thinking that it’s very easy just to go out and buy booze, but for me, this extra effort required gave me a bit of time to rethink giving in to the temptation.
Another tactic is avoiding passing by alcohol stores or the wine aisle in the supermarket when I shop. This simple step just makes it easier for me not to even think about booze. Of course, I would be lying if I say that I never get tempted to drink anymore. I’m human after all. That’s why I find ways to remove myself from triggers that would cause me to relapse.
I kept myself busy by planning activities
Unlike before when I could divert my attention to many different activities outside, the pandemic has forced me to stay more at home. It was actually refreshing during the first few weeks – not having to get up early to commute to work, having flexible work hours, being able to eat at home, etc. However, the novelty of it quickly wore off and I always found myself bored and with nothing to do.
These moments are very tough because when I was idle, I couldn’t help but think about whether I could have a drink to occupy myself. I realized that the solution to avoid this is to keep myself busy.
Even if I’m working from home and I have no supervisor who’s monitoring my schedule, I started maintaining a routine. I still get up early to exercise in the mornings and have a healthy breakfast before I sit down to do my daily work tasks.
I also plan way in advance what I’m going to do in my spare time – whether it’s chores, hobbies, or whatever. By knowing in advance what I have to do, I was able to avoid idle moments. I was able to focus on being productive instead of thinking about alcohol.
I connected with peers virtually
I used to go to regular AA meetings and events organized by the alumni program of my rehab. Having human interaction and being able to share my experiences were very helpful in my recovery process. The pandemic put a halt to this because suddenly, it was not advisable to gather anymore in groups.
I was lost in the beginning until I discovered that I can attend group sessions through video calls. While the experience is not the same as having people physically around me, it was still very helpful to be able to connect with other people who understand what I’m going through. Attending these virtual meetings also helped me to stay committed to my recovery journey even if we’re all experiencing a challenging time.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today.