Recovery Coaching During COVID-19
Opportunity for Rediscovery
As social beings, we are interconnected and interdependent through numerous social ties and bonds.
However, even prior to COVID-19, both social isolation and loneliness has been a growing challenge particularly on both ends of the age spectrum, older adults and young adults(Gen-Zs). A recent survey shows that in the US, the loneliness epidemic is getting worse with over 60% of Americans reporting that are lonely. Today,in a COVID impact survey, over 80% of people under age 30 reported feeling lonely, depressed, hopeless or nervous. These issues are global and touch the entire world.
Addiction treatment and recovery are more challenging today as a result of COVID-19 bringing with it even further physical, emotional, and psychosocial challenges through government ‘lock-downs’, social distancing rules and travel restrictions, which have forced people to live in compromised conditions, put up with abusive partners, manage dysfunctional family dynamics and battle social isolation.
Experts have indicated that people who are recovering from substance use are facing serious relapse issues during COVID-19. Now,people in recovery are going to even greater lengths to avoid relapse-inducing isolation.
During the pandemic, recovery coaches are even more critical now to ensure those in recovery continue on a positive path. It is a time for all of us to re-evaluate and rediscover ourselves, our loved one and others that have touched our lives or that we have touched.
Psychosocial stressors created by the pandemic pertain to prolonged home confinement,depression and anxiety due to the unknown nature of the disease, and a host of fears, anxieties and vulnerabilities regarding the contraction of infection,working from home, job security and flow of income, and access to drugs of choice among other factors. The desire to escape from such distress has led many people to seek refuge in addictive substances and behaviours, especially those which are cheap and readily available to allay their negative feelings and to allow them to cope. However, using addictive substances poses great risks to health, well-being and to life itself.
Substance addictive behaviors during COVID-19 include:
• Smoking - increased frequency of smoking among current smokers and greater chance of relapse among ex-smokers (with increased risk based upon by age, sex, ethnicity and comorbidity) including secondhand smoking, hazards of e-cigarettes and vaping
• Alcohol – there is significant evidence in the surge of alcohol sales during the pandemic that alcohol consumption has increased
• Opioids – an overdose of opioids can cause respiratory depression and hypoxemia which in turn can lead to cardiopulmonary and neurological complications
• Methamphetamine - can cause lung injury, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiomyopathy
• Behaviors associated with substance use also lead to greater probability of community spread of the coronavirus, for example, through particles present in vaping and wafting smoke, spitting by tobacco-chewers, and sharing of cigarettes, alcohol and needles between peers. Open liquor shops and off-licenses may also lead to the disruption of social distancing.
How can recovery coaches best support their clients during COVID?
While recovery coaches may be asked whether they should be aware of pandemic-specific tools and techniques, the typical answer is that the pre-COVID-19 coaching skills should be adequate and appropriate, subject to the availability of tools in a COVID-19 environment to accommodate the “remote” communication environment that we are currently living through. We are experiencing that clients are not typically looking to coaches to reform or give them answers specifically related to the pandemic.
While recovery coaches are strong and focused on what is best for their clients, they too may need supervision and further support to stay healthy physically, mentally and spiritually to ensure that they are their best selves particular during this unprecedented time in history. An opportunity for each one of us to reflect and rediscover.
Each client will react differently to the pandemic based upon their own personal histories that led to their path to recovery or rediscovery. As we know, the road to recovery is never a quick fix particularly now during COVID-19 where resources are no longer at our fingertips and need to be sought out and we all need to become even more creative. This historical event will live on forever, but with the expectation that we will all come out even better than before.
Connecting with others, both for recovery coaches and their clients is paramount especially during this period of time, to rebuild or even create for the first time, healthy social and professional networks, through peers and others to talk about what we are experiencing. We need to attend to ourselves so that we can be fully present for all who we touch.
Navigating through these uncertain times requires recovery coaches to be able to quickly identify the resources that are both necessary and available,regardless of where we live in the world.
IRSI WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH PRACTICAL ADVICE AND GUIDANCE AND THE NECESSARY TOOLS TO SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS AND LOVED ONES THROUGH RECOVERY DURING THE PANDEMIC.
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