Avoid Falling into Old Addictions During COVID-19: Six P.E.A.R.LS. of Wisdom for Living in Victory
Six P.E.A.R.LS. of Wisdom for Living in Victory
Social Distancing, Isolation, and Addiction
We have been on varying levels of shutdown in the USA due to COVID-19 since March, and the weight of these shutdowns is not only weighing on our economy and the education of our children but for countless men, it has resulted in domestic abuse and addiction relapse. At some point, the government must weigh the cost of countless lives lost in the wake of these shutdowns.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, spikes in drug and alcohol abuse use have been recorded since March. In late April/early May, the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) conducted a survey of 1,079 people with addictions nationwide on how they were being impacted by the pandemic. Twenty percent of the respondents reported that their own or a family member’s substance use had increased since the social isolation was put in place.
Three-quarters of the APF survey respondents reported emotional changes since the beginning of the pandemic, especially increased worry (62%), sadness (51%), fear (51%), and loneliness (42%). These emotions increase the risk for relapse and unfortunately circumstances since the pandemic has made peer support, for instance in 12-step meetings and similar groups, much more difficult.
An analysis of a nationwide sample of 500,000 urine drug test results conducted by Millennium Health also showed steep increases for cocaine (10% increase), heroin (13% increase), methamphetamine (20% increase), and non-prescribed fentanyl (32% increase).
Keep C.A.L.M. and Press On
In an equipping blast from last March I shared an acrostic from one of my favorite passages in Scripture to help in these difficult times.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:4-9
CELEBRATE God through Praise (verses 4-5).
ASK God to help you with your anxiety (verse 6).
LEAN into Jesus (verse 7).
Meditate on good things (verses 8-9).
Don’t mess with My Mind, Man!
In mid-August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed the results of a survey showing that anxiety disorder symptoms were about three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%).
Depressive disorder was about four times that reported in 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%). CDC also said 13.3% of respondents reported starting or increasing substance abuse. In addition, more than twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days than did adults in the U.S. in 2018, referring to the previous 12 months (10.7% versus 4.3%).
Furthermore, in June alcohol sales had risen 27% since March 7!
My Addict Your Addict
We just released the latest edition of the Men in the Arena Podcast with author and addiction expert Jack Alan Levine, author of nine books including his newest book to be released in January entitled, Addiction and Recovery Handbook: Unmask Addiction, Unchain Recovery!
This collaborative work is a textbook for addiction and sources for recovery.
In the book, one of the 18 contributors, Raymond Alvarez, identifies some specific areas affected by addiction and offers his pearls of wisdom to throw at them. Those areas are—spiritually, physically, socially, cognitively, emotionally, and financially.
Here they are:
P.E.A.R.L.S. of Wisdom for those Battling Addiction
PRAY—To address the negative effects on you spiritually.
EXERCISE— To address the negative effects on you physically.
ATTEND an AA (or any uplifting) Meeting—To address the negative effects of
substances on you socially.
READ—To address the negative effects of substances on you cognitively.
LAUGH (out loud)—To address the negative effects of substances on you
SAVE Money—To address the negative effects of substances on you financially.
Boots on the Ground
Wherever you are right now, stop. Pull the car over. Put your fork down. Step away from your computer. Put your phone down. Ask God this question, then stop and wait for His answer: “Lord Jesus, is there any area of my old life that I have allowed to sneak back in? Does ANYTHING have mastery over me?”
“All things are permitted for me, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12).