How to Stay at Home and Stay Sober—Ten Ways to Be Productive During Quarantine

Man works from home

These are harsh times for many Americans. For those in recovery, staying at home under quarantine can present all kinds of problems. How can those in recovery stay productive and foster strength in their sobriety during this difficult time?

At the time of this writing, a significant percentage of the world population is under quarantine. This is being done to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus.

What does quarantine entail? Mostly it means spending a lot of time at home.

For many people, having to stay at home and self-isolate is no more than a mild inconvenience. For recovering addicts, however, it can be a little more dangerous. People in recovery become used to their daily routine, much of which involves leaving their homes. When a recovering addict has to stay at home and is not able to work, go to school, attend church, attend support groups, or otherwise live their lives, they can become distressed.

When such hardship sets in, that can lead to temptations to use drugs and alcohol again. The goal then has to be one of staying sober during the quarantine. With that being said, what can people in recovery do to ensure that they do not fall back into their old habits during the coronavirus health crisis?

Ten Activities to Avoid Boredom While in Quarantine

People in recovery will likely face unique challenges during the pandemic. While staying at home during the quarantine period, it is crucial that recovering addicts not become bored, distraught, or otherwise stressed. Maintaining sobriety through this hardship has to be the priority. The best way to do that is to find ways to stay productive and active from home.

Here are ten things people in recovery can do to make the best of quarantine and to possibly even benefit from it.

Making clothes

1). Find a new hobby. Do you already have a hobby that you love, that you can never find enough time for? If the hobby is one you can do from home, now is the perfect time to dive into that hobby and discover your talent within it. And if your hobbies usually include going out and about, now might be an ideal time to learn a new hobby that you can do indoors.

2). Learn how to make money from home. Having to stay home under a quarantine order often means going without income, and that can land anyone in dire straits. For those in recovery, financial stress simply makes house quarantine more difficult. See if you can find a way to create income from home, whether that involves you making things to sell, finding freelance work over the internet, performing data entry or administrative work, etc.

3). Exercise daily. An unhealthy lifestyle is harmful to anyone, particularly recovering addicts. Make poor health choices might make it easier to slip down into a relapse later on, so be sure that you are getting exercise every day to remain in shape and to keep your body limber and moving.

4). Cook and discover new ways to eat well. Segueing from exercising daily, another great way to beat boredom in quarantine is to find new ways to eat well. There are thousands of healthy recipes available on the internet. Most urban regions have delivery services, so you don’t even need to leave your home to purchase ingredients.

5). Clean and sanitize your home. This should be one of the first things anyone does to stay productive during the quarantine. To ensure that you and anyone else who lives in your home does not get sick, be sure to sanitize your home thoroughly. Think of this as spring cleaning, but spring cleaning 2.0, the virus-killer edition. The use of simple, household disinfectants kill coronavirus pathogens and other bacteria and viruses, so be sure to clean thoroughly to avoid contamination.

Woman takes care of the flowers

6). Improve your home and outdoor environment. If you live in a house with a yard or an outdoor space, now could be the perfect time to do some landscaping, trim the hedges and trees, plant a vegetable garden or flower patch, etc. Use this time to beautify your home or outdoor spaces, and find comfort in the fact that you’ll continue to enjoy those improvements long after the health crisis has passed.

7). Write, make art, and explore your creative side. If you’ve always felt that you have something creative to say or express, now is the time to say it or express it. Art can be a beautiful, natural remedy through hard times, and it would behoove recovering addicts everywhere to discover or rediscover their creative side during this crisis. Injecting creativity and expressive wonder into an otherwise tumultuous moment in history can be a great way to build a stable foundation of sobriety and also contribute something artistic to the world.

8). Take an online course and learn a new skill. Colleges, trade schools, groups, churches, and other educational institutions are expanding their online course options in the wake of school cancellations across the country. Now would be the perfect time to study a subject you’ve always wanted to study and possibly even take the first step towards learning skills for a new career.

9). Correspond with your treatment center. If you are in touch with a treatment center that you sought help at, now would be the perfect time to get in touch with the staff there, correspond with them, and seek advice from them on how to maintain sobriety during difficult times. Some drug rehabs have staff whose responsibility it is to maintain communication and contact with graduates. Seek dialogue with these individuals to get an extra boost of help and advice through quarantine.

Reading a book at home

10). Read books and watch documentaries. Like taking online courses, simply reading books and watching documentaries can be a great way to learn something new, to dive into a subject that interests you. Right now would be the perfect time to learn about a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about but never seemed to have time for.

Seek Help if You Need It

If you or someone you care about has relapsed back onto old habits of drinking or drug use, it’s essential to act fast and seek treatment once again. It’s important to remember that a relapse does not mean you lost all of your hard-won gains. It does not mean that “It was all for naught.”

A relapse usually means there was some aspect to your addiction that was not adequately addressed, not fully worked over. It may mean there are still some issues that you are struggling with, some life crises that you have not yet learned how to cope with without using drugs and alcohol. Seek the help of a drug and alcohol rehab center as soon as possible. Don’t let a nationwide quarantine and a relapse onto drug use be the end of you. Seek help today.


Reviewed by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP



After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.