How to Stay Strong and Become Your Better Self During A Pandemic

Using COVID-19 As An Excuse

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | By Cooper Samp

We understand that these are stressful times. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed and more and more people are left without jobs. If you are lucky enough to keep your job, you may be struggling to maintain order in your life – whether with your children or other loved ones in your life. It is understandable and ok if you are not being the person you once were. Maybe you haven’t been as productive at work. Perhaps your diet and exercise have taken a little rest over the past few months. These things are completely natural and ok. We shouldn’t expect people to be their 100% during these times.

Unfortunately, for many of us, we might take this philosophy and run – rationalizing our abnormal behaviors because of these unconventional times.

For those struggling with addiction, it can be hard in normal circumstances to reach out for help; but today, with so many distractions and concerns, we might not be thinking about our drinking or using habits. In fact, we are probably drinking more than ever before as it might be the only thing helping us through these times.

We see from social media that the “work from home” #wfh culture says it’s ok to start happy hour a little early. Morning mimosas during your morning zoom meeting, why not? Because if we can’t go outside, what else is there to do other than drinking, smoking, and watching some TV. 

We tell ourselves that it’s ok to do because everyone else is doing it. We try to rationalize our actions because these are abnormal times and we need something to help us through it. The government has even labeled dispensaries and liquor stores essential; these behaviors are clearly approved by our government and culture.

With so much uncertainty and chaos, it can be hard to find the signal through all this noise. Is drinking ok? Is smoking justified?

We rationalize by saying everyone is doing it and that these times are so stressful that we all need something to help. Most people are so distracted by the news, the disruption in their lives, fear, and concern for potential health hazards that they overlook their immediate health.

Will this drinking habit leave when this is over? For some yes. They may have transitioned into drinking behaviors, but these actions are new to them. When a person transitions to working from home and now has to care for children; it might be easy to go from a glass of wine at night to a bottle throughout the day.

But what about individuals who have had a previous history of drinking regularly…most likely not. Drinking or using habits seemingly have justifications now and therefore drinking (or using) might increase. If we increase our usage throughout the day, no matter what we tell ourselves when the COVID storm passes it will be just as hard to quit this new frequency of use. 

Excuse Me?

Making the decision to go to treatment is hard. It requires strength and courage to admit our faults to ourselves and even more to admit them to the people we know. Some of us justify our actions by saying it hasn’t affected our social life or career (yet) and even joke about being a “functioning alcoholic.” This false illusion of having a “stable” life always ends up causing more damage in the long-run: socially, psychologically, and physically.

How many of us actually make it through the entire year with our “New Years Resolutions” intact? I would guess maybe one or two years in our life, but most of us probably abandon these by February. That’s ok. We are human. But why does this happen? Much of it has to do with rationalizations and therefore excuses.

“I did A so I don’t have to do B. C happened to so I deserve B.”

Everyone does this is one form or another. It serves as a distraction of sorts that prevents us from achieving the task, but it stems from a deeper, unconscious desire to protect ourselves (our Ego, if you asked Freud) against anxiety and shame. Often times these reasonings are logical and others are just ways to make us feel better about our decisions. Psychological awareness is knowing how to spot the difference.

Understanding our behaviors and actions is what cognitive behavioral therapy is all about. Old habits die hard but with a little open-mindedness and determination, you’ll begin to acknowledge when you are subconsciously making excuses and thus form a more productive manner of thought.

With acknowledgment and accountability come happiness and success. When we begin to understand the things in our lives that we can change and start living more productive lives. We come to understand life is more about willpower than it is about luck.

Learning this willpower and accountability is one of the first steps in our life skills curriculum. These elements are the foundation of a strong and mature mind. 

The Silver Lining.

Now can be a great time to obtain addiction treatment. For individuals without jobs at the moment, use this time wisely. Instead of sitting and waiting for jobs to appear, we can make use of our time productively and build a better self. Being clear-headed and sober is only going to better our chance of obtaining a job. By the time the job markets open, we will have the confidence and skills necessary to take on any job interview.

For individuals who are still working, there are resources in place to leave, still maintain your job, and possibly even be paid for your leave of absence. Thanks to the Florida Medical Leave Act, Florida employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. The health condition (in this case substance use disorders) does not have to be disclosed with the employer. Everything is held confidential within the treatment center and any information disclosed will be to individuals with signed releases.

Mental Health Treatment as Well. 

Addiction therapy rarely focuses on addiction alone. There are a variety of facets to guide you along the path of recovery and eventually become our best selves. With weekly sessions with our board-certified psychiatrist, you will be assessed for any underlying mental health disorders – treatable with medications if deemed necessary. With our therapies and group classes, you’ll be able to take on any of these challenges. Learning proper techniques to deal with stress and anxiousness – could there be a more suitable time to learn these skills?

These are stressful times. We need support and social interaction now more than ever. We also offer online treatment programs to keep you safe and healthy!

How To Recieve Treatment – Safe and Secure From COVID-19

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