Brother Be Well Wellness for Boys and Men of Color

If you’re struggling with an addiction, staying sober during the best of times can be difficult. If you’re dealing with other life challenges on top of the challenge of staying sober, it can be even harder.

Negative life events, like the death of a loved one, can bring up difficult feelings that may make you want to turn to your drug of choice. COVID-19 has made recovery extremely challenging, as you may be attempting to stay sober with minimal contact from your support system. Even something as simple as the holiday season can put you in compromising positions that may cause you to drink or use drugs when you otherwise wouldn’t.

Although staying sober during difficult times can be a challenge, the good news is that you can make it to the other side of a difficult time without revisiting your addiction.

Increase your support system

No matter what challenge you’re facing, it’s important to increase your support system. Friends and family can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, which will make you less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Consider scheduling calls with friends or family after holiday events, invite people you care about over to your house more often, and schedule video calls with loved ones if you are unable to leave the house, or if they live in another state or country.

Don’t be afraid to seek professional support. Meeting with a therapist or a new recovery group can help you get through a hard time without relapsing.

Create and maintain a schedule

Maintaining a schedule that keeps you busy and away from drugs and alcohol can be very helpful. Get up and go to bed at the same times every day, go to work, volunteer, and fill your downtime with a schedule of self-care activities, like relaxing in a bath, cooking dinner, and grocery shopping.

Don’t be afraid to say no if you’re invited to something that interrupts your schedule. You should never feel guilty for skipping that holiday party or a large family gathering if you worry about how it will impact your sobriety.

When your schedule doesn’t include drugs, alcohol, or the people associated with your addiction, you’re more likely to continue your sobriety during difficult times.

Find positive distractions

Thinking about a loved one who recently passed and watching the news regarding the latest COVID-19 updates is healthy—up to a point. Dwelling on difficult topics for too long can push you towards your drug of choice.

If you find yourself thinking in circles, it’s time to find a positive distraction. Anything you enjoy doing can help you take your mind off of your troubles. Consider reading a book, starting a movie marathon, crafting, or going for a walk. Learning a new skill, like playing an instrument or cooking a new recipe, can be an especially good way to help you forget about your worries for a while.

Don’t let a difficult time compromise your sobriety. Use the tips on this list to help you maintain your physical and mental health.

Referenced Sources:

The Importance of Good Support Systems in Sobriety: Psych Central

Bringing Balance Back: Why You Need Routine and Structure:

Using Distraction for Coping With Emotions and PTSD: Very Well Mind

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