Coronavirus Unemployment and Alcohol Consumption

2 min read · 3 sections

During normal times, unemployment is stressful and destabilizing enough. During times of pandemic, unemployment can be more stressful, and more harmful to a life in recovery. As the coronavirus pandemic rages across the globe, companies have been shuttering their stores and laying off their employees. For those in recovery, the disruption of work due to the pandemic can be stressful enough, but the loss of a job and the stress and uncertainty that comes with it can lead to relapse.

During these trying times, it’s important for those in recovery to recognize the link between coronavirus unemployment and alcohol consumption. Only then can one recognize the warning signs of relapse and preserve their recovery.

The Link Between Unemployment and Alcohol Consumption

person starting job search after experiencing coronavirus unemployment and alcohol consumption

Having a job can often be an important part of life in recovery. Work provides structure and purpose to one’s life. Not only does having a job you are passionate about give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but it also provides a routine. Wake up. Shower. Breakfast. Work. Lunch. Work. Go Home. Dinner. Relax. While everybody’s day may not be similar, work gives a person something to do.

As one might expect, when a job is suddenly lost, it can cause problems for those in recovery. Many in recovery already find it difficult to find a job. This could be due to a combination of factors, such as the stigma against those who struggle with addiction or past criminal records related to substance abuse. When a job is lost, especially due to factors outside your control, finding a new one can be a difficult process. With the pandemic raging and quarantines in place, finding a new job can be even more difficult since some companies won’t be hiring until the pandemic is lifted.

If all this wasn’t problematic enough for those in recovery, unemployment can cause a relapse. Stress from the coronavirus pandemic is already affecting millions, but the stress of unemployment is another beast waiting to pounce. The disruption of the routine coupled with the stress of unemployment can lead to relapse. Especially if one cannot adapt their coping mechanisms to deal with the new realities of the pandemic.

Another way unemployment can lead to relapse is through the disruption of one’s routine. Work often provides a sense of purpose. and when that purpose is lost, it can stir up a mix of emotions. Depression, anger, anxiety; all these emotions can mix together in a toxic way, and people may turn to alcohol to numb them.

Avoiding Alcohol During Unemployment

While no study has proven a definitive link between alcohol consumption an unemployment, there are trends that suggest the two have an impact on one another. Alcohol sales and consumption have been rising rapidly in the United States ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.  However, there are ways to avoid alcohol and prevent falling into bad habits.

First and foremost, remember that there is support out there during times of crisis. If the stress of the pandemic or the loss of a job brings you close to relapsing, you can reach out to substance abuse hotlines. Additionally, there are dozens of free virtual support meetings running to provide a venue to those in recovery who are quarantining. And, you can always reach out via phone or video call to a member of your support network.

American Addiction Centers is open and here to answer your question about relapse and treatment options. With treatment facilities across the U.S.

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It can also be beneficial to keep a positive outlook. Jobs are replaceable, but your health and wellbeing are not. Practicing self-care, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and keeping close social connections, as best as you can during social distancing, can be the best way to avoid relapsing after a job loss.

You also don’t have to jump back into the job search right away. Many companies have put a hold on hiring until the quarantine is over. While this may cause financial uncertainty, it can also be used to decompress and reflect on one’s career, and perhaps on their sobriety.

Maintaining Recovery Through Pandemic and Unemployment

man overwhelmed from coronavirus unemployment and alcohol consumption

American Addiction Centers (AAC) remains open and committed to providing critical addiction treatment during the pandemic. While not everybody may be willing to travel, there are ways that AAC can help you start or continue your journey to recovery. We will be running virtual support meetings to help people maintain their recovery. Whether you’re struggling with coronavirus stress or coronavirus unemployment, a life in recovery is possible.

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