The world’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult on everyone. Those wrestling with substance addiction have been impacted as much as anyone. If you are still struggling with addiction after the pandemic, or are trying to continue your recovery, let’s discuss how to find sobriety in a post-pandemic world.
If you’ve quit drinking during the pandemic or are thinking about quitting drinking as the world reopens, there are some things to think about. The end of lockdowns mean anticipating new challenges and possibly learning some new behaviors as far as how you celebrate, unwind, or have fun. You may need to find new routines regarding who you spend time with and where.
Here are some tips for finding new paths to happiness while sober in a post-pandemic world.
How do I navigate friends who don’t support my recovery?
We feel happy when we are contributing to our social group, or being social. Th isolation of lockdown has been a real test for all of us.
Without using substances, you still can be fun at a party. You can still have a conversation. But, one of the main reasons people don’t stop using their drug of choice is that most of their social network revolves around the use of that drug. We are who we hang out with. And if most of your social life revolves around others who use substances, then the likelihood of your getting sober is slim.
Even in the face of the fear of being alone, you must choose whether you want to listen to your own desires to get sober or to the inadequacies of supposed friends. The old saying is that if they can’t love you when you make a change then they don’t love you at all. Part of making changes in any lifestyle is making hard decisions. Decisions that could cause you to lose friends.
How do I find new friends in sobriety after the pandemic?
When we were kids we were all better at making friends. As we get older this can become really challenging. Discovering new friends in sobriety often includes looking in new circles. Recovery meetings, new co-workers, fresh positive social circles such as church, gyms or sports clubs.
Seek out new people to talk to. Take this opportunity to seek out people who have the same passions as you. We have to push through the fear of rejection if we are to succeed in making new friends and growing our healthy social circles.
How should I handle others pressuring me about my choice not to drink?
For those that have known you in your addiction, most will be happy about your decision to change. However, there will be those who will question this decision. For these people, your change may be challenging for them for many reasons. It isn’t your job to know why, only to know that if someone doesn’t want you to stop using addictive substances, then this is a clear relationship that you need to leave. It actually makes it quite easy to know which friendships to trim.
Be proud of the changes you are making. Feel happy about them. There is a stigma that comes with addiction, but, thankfully, our society has moved to a place where those who are seeking sobriety are applauded. Know this. Enjoy it. Be proud of your progress and your past. You shouldn’t have to make excuses and you should be able to say no without expounding. Avoid the urge to defend your position. You don’t need to. You don’t owe anybody any explanation for why you decide to not put a substance in your body!
I still get urges to drink. How can I keep from caving?
This is quite common in sobriety. Once your body has removed the addictive substance, you are no longer physically addicted. Any cravings come from your brain and are thus a mental craving that can be defeated by being aware of your thoughts and taking control of them.
Do a lot of checking in with yourself when you’re in a situation where you feel an urge to drink, and always keep a long-term perspective—to do what serves you best long-term. Exercise is a great way to shift your focus, do something that feels good and creates a positive reward. Exercise restores balance and, done regularly, is actually an antidepressant. Even something as simple as getting outside by going for a walk changes your environment which can change your thinking. Calling a friend or sponsor or going to a recovery meeting can also help you get our of your self and focus on others. This is the key to sobriety. In our addiction we spend a lot of time thinking of ourselves. In recovery, we get a chance to start thinking of others first.
If your thoughts are overwhelming you with cravings, the urge to give in comes from a desire to not feel the pain. Instead of giving into the feelings, change your thoughts. Seek out someone to help. It is the magic pill to recovery. Try it! We know you won’t be sorry.
If you or a loved one is seeking a safe place to recover from addiction, San Diego Sober Living can help. We have been in addiction. We know how to recover and our safe living houses can give you the community support you need. Call us today!