Now that we are living in a world of COVID and social distancing, our lives have been turned upside down. It is said that the opposite of addiction is connection, and with social distancing, connection is harder than ever. For those in addiction recovery, sobriety is a daily struggle, and connection to others and to a community is vital in order to be successful.
Individuals in recovery need a strong support system in place, and COVID has shaken that up. Connections with others are a tremendous source of support and strength for those in recovery. With 12-step groups being moved online and social distancing guidelines preventing meeting with sponsors and friends in person, people will have to become creative and extra vigilant about prioritizing their recovery.
For those in recovery, any time routines are interrupted, or stress and anxiety increases, people are at greater risk for relapse. This can include personal, relationship, work or financial stress. People may feel frustrated and scared, and virtual meetings can feel different than face to face meetings. Many strategies and positive coping skills that people normally use when battling addiction are not feasible anymore – like going swimming at a YMCA pool or hugging your best friend. These past few months have been a challenge for even the most well adjusted, let alone people who are bravely battling addiction and striving towards sobriety. We commend them in their pursuit every day of becoming healthier.
Although the situation is very challenging and relapses are on the rise, people can keep themselves healthy and in check using creative ways. For those in recovery, make sure to stick to a routine, which includes proper sleep, nutrition, and time spent doing activities you enjoy! Find meetings online, and now that everyone has extra time on their hands, try going to more meetings than you normally would. Find a new hobby! Ever wanted to learn how to play guitar? Now is the time to start and let music help you through addiction and the pandemic. For those with loved ones struggling with addiction, check in regularly and encourage ones you know who are trying to maintain sobriety. When we do not have control over the situation and cannot do what we normally would, it is important to focus on what we CAN do. A change in thinking can be tremendously helpful for addicts when facing this unique struggle. Although it is much easier said than done, try to embrace optimism and positivity and ‘take it one day at a time’.