In National Recovery Month, Pandemic Presents Extra Pressures

National Recovery Month

September has been declared National Recovery Month. Public attention is drawn toward the issue of those who are battling substance use disorders. Various forms of treatment, along with the triumphs and struggles of people in recovery are also highlighted during the month.

Two Factors form the Basis for Addiction

When asked to comment on the factors that form the basis for addiction, Dr. David McNabb, the president of Adult and Teen Challenge Midsouth in Chattanooga stated that it “revolves around escape and control.”

He observed that during the pandemic, it is more challenging for people in recovery to be in control of their journey. They can’t escape the uncertainty of the pandemic.

In March of this year, social distancing was a new idea. At the time, Dr. McNabb stated that spending time alone would be good for recovering addicts since they could reflect on their addiction journey. He felt this would be a positive experience.

As the pandemic continues to affect everyday lives, it has become more challenging for people in recovery to control their nervous energy. They may not be able to spend time with loved ones as they would like. Counseling sessions that are part of follow-up care for substance abuse are now being held over the phone or online. This is not the same as being in the same room as the addictions counselor. The vibe is different and some people feel that they don’t have the same connection to their counselor if they can’t see them in person.

Dr. McNabb said that recovering addicts have had sufficient time to look inside. Now they want to take their next steps, get their lives in order, and move forward. He said that their lives have been out of control for a long time and addicts are now in a situation where they are saying that they are uncertain whether they can make it through. They are looking for a way to escape from the present situation and they want to be in control of something. If their main way to cope with stress has to turn to chemicals, recovering addicts are at higher risk of overdose.

Check on People in Recovery to Ensure They are Coping Well

When asked what loved ones can do to help right now, he said that the best thing is to check on the person in recovery. Once a family member or friend has made contact, it is important to listen to the recovering person’s concerns. The addict may be looking to connect with loved ones more often. This can be done by scheduling a specific day and time to call the addict or to chat using instant messaging technology.

Enlist the help of other family members and friends to reach out as well so that one person is not doing all the communicating. That situation only leads to resentment and hard feelings.