Staying Sober After a Natural Disaster 
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Staying Sober After a Natural Disaster 

Hurricanes, flash floods, and tornadoes are common this time of year, and often these acts of mother nature can leave a trail of destruction—causing those in its wake to experience trauma and fall into feelings of intense anxiety, shock, panic, and fear. In the aftermath, we see images of those dealing with the crisis—mourning loved ones who perished in the devastation and wandering through the destruction looking for clothing, shelter, and food. Combine these overwhelming reactions and feelings with someone trying to stay sober, and a relapse could be imminent. To avoid becoming a victim of a relapse, here are some suggestions for dealing with a natural disaster while trying to stay sober.

  • Establish a support team: Organize a support system of friends and family, and agree on a meeting place where you can gather after the event. Having support from those who understand your situation will help you stay focused and avoid the urge to relapse.
  • Prepare: Being prepared will help you feel some control and help you avoid some of the stress that could cause you to turn to drugs or alcohol. If you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, fires, or tornadoes, you and your loved ones should be prepared for a catastrophe before it happens by: 
  • Stocking up on essentials such as water, food, prescriptions, batteries, and clothing. Many communities have a checklist online of what to do in case of an emergency during a natural disaster.
  • Planning an escape route and stocking your car with an emergency bag. If you can’t leave, have an alternative place to wait out the aftermath. 
  • Checking to see if emergency shelters in your area take pets. Some communities have animal shelters where you can place your pet during a storm.
  • Volunteer and talk to others in recovery: After the disaster, offer to help clean-up crews or volunteer to assist organizations such as the Red Cross with handing out food, supplies, and clothing to your community. This will help you feel empowered during a time when many feel powerless. Additionally, this can help you avoid feeling sorry for yourself, which can lead to relapse. Reach out to others you know who are trying to stay sober, as well, and encourage each other—there is safety and support in numbers.

Addiction and Treatment

If a natural disaster happens, don’t let the anxiety and stress cause you to relapse. Following the tips above can help you or a loved one not only survive the aftermath of a traumatic event, it can help you stay sober. If you or a loved one is battling addiction or a substance use disorder, get help now. Make the life-saving decision to free yourself from the harmful and deadly effects of addiction and contact Daylight Recovery Services today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT. While there is no cure for addiction, treatment is available and there is hope in recovery. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

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