How have you been coping through this quarantine period? I will guess it has not been so smooth, but all the same, you are still trying your best to stay strong. Unfortunately, the situation is a lot more intolerable for recovering addicts.
For people that are trying to stay sober, the sense of active or impending anxiety and depression that comes with the quarantine can be unendurable. They feel a strong need to indulge in alcohol or other drugs, despite their experience with addiction.
Various forecasts are speculating a rise in depression and other mental health issues throughout the general population. On that note, the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use found it necessary to make a publication encouraging people to maintain a positive vibe and extend positivity to everyone.1
We need to stay mentally healthy and embrace a sense of communal affection and responsibility. Hence, the need to look out for and help our friends who are trying to stay sober. This quarantine threatens the progress most recovering addicts have made, to the point that it has been identified as a ‘relapse trigger.’
In Georgia, for example, the state’s Council on Substance Abuse estimates that about 800,000 Georgians are in recovery. A spokesperson (who is also in recovery) stated that social connection is very crucial for this population at a time like this. 2 To that effect, some centers offering sober living programs have put in their best to provide virtual platforms for providing continued support and assistance to recovering addicts.
However, there is more to be done on a personal level, and that is where you come in. As someone that has sober friends, you are probably wondering what you could do to help them through the quarantine. What could help ease their mental burden, and help them stay off the embrace of a relapse?
We have created a list of care package items that are sure to help you share some love with your sober friends, and help them maintain a healthy perspective.
Given the prevailing situation, it is not uncommon to drift and get lost in negative thoughts. However, leaning on such ideas for a little too long can ruin an individual’s overall appeal.
More so, for your sober friends who have been in really dark places mentally, it’s easy for them to slip into such unpleasant thoughts. That is not an option you would want them to explore, because it is a trigger that could propel them straight into the open arms of addiction.
If there is anything anyone should be getting lost in now, it should be ‘books.’ Books have helped provide an escape from reality for many persons in these trying times. Besides, a lot of books present fresh and exciting perspectives for readers to dwell in, especially those who don’t have a lot to hold on to.
It does not necessarily have to be a novel; it could be books that passionately address your sober friend’s interests, or motivational books to walk them through sobriety. One such book is The Big Book, also known as Alcoholics Anonymous, written by Bill W. If they have participated in a 12-step program, then they have probably been across it, but if they haven’t, you should get it for them. It has a lot of captivating stories to tell and lessons to teach.
- Personalized items
These could include anything from cards and mugs to pillows and blankets. It is most likely something they can get for themselves, but coming from you and with some personalized message, it would mean a lot. We are all mostly at home, all day, every day.
A blanket or robe with some uplifting graphics or message would be something pleasant for your sober friends to get cozy. The point is to use everyday items to uplift your sober friends’ spirit.
- Subscription to a streaming service
Most people, especially those that cannot work from home, now have a lot of time to spare, and they need to catch up with a lot of shows, documentaries, and movies. With this ample time, you can get your sober friends to delve into some quality entertainment. Even if they are already subscribed to a streaming service, it will not hurt to have another alternative.
If an additional monthly subscription is not something you can handle at the moment, you can always share an account with them. Moreover, watching the same content provides an opportunity for you and your sober friend to bond. You also have something in common to share and discuss, hence, building a social connection that everyone needs at this point.
- A quarantine gift hamper
Just like a birthday or Christmas hamper, this should contain confectionaries, non-alcoholic drinks/juices, and other food or self-care items. It might sound like an inconsequential gesture, but it would sure go a long way in helping your friend maintain sobriety.
People that are trying to stay sober need consumable alternatives for when they develop cravings. Rather than indulging in drugs, they can always opt for healthier options in the hamper.
Additionally, you can throw in an air popper, which is an easy tool for making popcorn fast and easy. For all those long times that might be spent reading books or streaming shows, some popcorn might be a good companion for your sober friends.
Most recovering addicts have a lot of stories to tell, as well as philosophies they probably like to address. Encourage them to pour out their mind in writing. Sometimes this is all a recovering addict needs to stay firm in their resolution to stay sober.
- DIY supplies
There are lots of DIY supplies that are affordable and easy to use. Getting one of such supplies for your sober friend can help keep their mind sharp, creative, and occupied through the quarantine. It can also help them explore their creativity and help pass time meaningfully. Being busy and inspired helps limit the chances of triggers that could lead to a relapse.
You can go a little extra
There is every need for your sober friend’s mental state to be balanced during and after the quarantine. That need is well catered for in the package items we listed. Nevertheless, you can still take things a step further by recommending a progressive drug rehab center to your sober friends. It would expose them to virtual rehabilitation services and meetings that are available to recovering addicts, all of which they use to their advantage. Also, it would place them within reach of recovery professionals who would keep a tab on their progress, and offer solutions anytime they feel like they are about to slip.