If we could wish the ongoing pandemic away, many of us would take up the option. However, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be budging, so we have spent most of 2020 finding ways to stay safe and learn to live with it until a possible vaccine is released.
Coronavirus is having a significant impact on the recovery community, however, with an increase in overdoses. As of May this year, national overdoses rose by 42 percent. Some factors tentatively contributing to rising overdose rates include isolation, lack of access to services, and anxiety relating to the pandemic. If not addressed, this could become a national crisis, so it’s critical everyone does their part to help reduce the risk of overdose.
If you’re someone who battles addiction or you know a loved one who does, knowing how to prevent an overdose could help save their life.
When you’re extremely bored, it’s easy for your mind to begin wandering. To resist the urge to indulge in alcohol or drug abuse, keep yourself as occupied as possible. Write a list of things you always wish you could do or compose a coronavirus bucket list. Explore activities you can get up to despite the social distancing measures and ongoing restrictions. It could be going camping in your garden, binge watching a childhood favorite, or picking up a hobby that you’ve neglected. The more occupied you are, the less time you’ll have to think about using drugs or alcohol to pass time.
When you’re bored you also tend to overthink, and this can take you down a dark path. It may be a good time to face any psychological trauma you have by starting virtual counseling if it’s something you’ve never considered.
If you’re in a rehabilitation program to help you recover from addiction, don’t stop treatment. Although there have been restrictions, many service providers are still offering services. Thanks to telehealth, you can receive treatment virtually and continue working towards your recovery goals or sobriety. There are virtual support groups as well as virtual counseling services available.
For those who have a newly developed addiction problem, facilities are taking in new patients, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Allowing your drug problem to continue is a way to increase the chances of overdosing. In case you’re concerned about the cost, contact your insurance provider to see how much of your treatment they’ll cover and what other funding options you have.
You will go further in life with people than you’ll go alone. Building your support system is a way to ensure you’re surrounded with individuals who love and positively influence you. Instead of being withdrawn, reach out to loved ones often and share how you’re feeling. In moments of weakness, pull from their strength instead of trying to do it all alone. If you don't have many people you can count on, try Facebook groups or online communities for people who battle substance or alcohol abuse. Having the right support system can also be ideal for accountability. The more people you have to make sure you’re on track, the harder it isto fall back on old habits.
While the amount of freetime you have may seem overwhelming, it can also be a blessing in disguise. For example, you may want to learn a new language or develop a skill that could help you get better at your craft. Set small and realistic goals and work at it for a few hours daily. However, don’t put pressure on yourself to be productive every day. There will be times when you don’t have the energy to do more than roll out of bed and that’s fine too.
Positive outlets could include exercise, arts and crafts, or learning to cook your favorite takeout dish.
Even when you aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, relapses still happen. That said, it’s always ideal to prepare for a worst case scenario and know what to do in the face of one. If you’re with someone who overdoses, call 911 immediately and do everything you can to keep them conscious be it calling their name or rubbing their chest with your knuckles. Don’t worry about being arrested for the possession of drugs as you should be protected by the Good Samaritan drug overdose laws. These laws give you immunity from arrest, charge, or prosecution, so summon for help without hesitation.
An overdose can be deadly but it doesn't have to be if professional help is sought. This includes calling for help immediately and having them enroll into rehab after. Share this information with people you know as it could help them save a life, too.