Anyone in recovery will understand how important connection is for us. It was the first helping hands that dragged us out of the depths of our rock bottoms, the arms that held us when we thought we could never find our way out, and the words that comforted us through the tough times without picking up.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine measures are being implemented around the World.
So, what now? While the World complains about the boredom they’re experiencing from a small amount of isolation, what about for us? For the people who fight not to isolate, when that’s often all we want to do, and need to keep connected to the strength of our people. A necessity that is literally a matter of life or death.
We need to adjust differently. We can’t just take advantage of all the suggestions out there to turn to Netflix… read a book… do a jigsaw puzzle. We need to shuffle up and expand our recovery toolkit so we cannot just survive, but continue to thrive!
Here’s a few of our suggestions that we hope will be some help…
1. The phone is your new best friend.
It’s easy to think you are alone, when you physically are, but remember you are far from it. Call your support more often than usual. They will be grateful for it too. And don’t just phone, start using video calls more often to really feel connected to the other person at the end of the line.
2. Online meetings are in abundance.
If you attend 12 step meetings in person, there are a host of online meetings, and even more made available during this time. You can find some AA meetings here and NA here. Your local groups will be able to advise on any additional ones added.
There are also some great speaker tapes and recovery podcasts out there. You can search and find the ones that fit your recovery program best. We're listening to Sober Cast and Narcotics Anonymous In A Podcast.
3. Your routine is still your routine.
Obviously, your usual day to day activities will not be completely possible, but stick to the things you can. Get up at the same time in the morning, follow your recovery plan, shower, get dressed, meditate and keep your work schedule. Fill extra space with hobbies or things you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to. Keeping busy will stop you from getting bored, and boredom for people who abuse substances can be a dangerous time.
4. It’s not an excuse to drop exercise!
You may be used to hitting the gym or going for a run, but just because you can’t do the usual, doesn’t mean you’re resigned to the sofa. We know that a healthy body promotes a healthy mind! There are lots of free exercise videos you can find on YouTube- here’s one of our favourite online yoga channels and lots of local fitness studios are now offering streaming classes to clients. If you hate exercising alone, arrange a skype workout with a buddy.
5. Consider the effect of social media
It’s crazy out there and suddenly your dads-mates-sisters-cat is an expert in Infectious Diseases. It can be easy to get caught up and confused in the drama, maybe even anxious or irritated. Let’s avoid a heightened range of emotions unnecessarily! Of course you will want to keep yourself educated on the evolving situation, but chose your sources wisely and take a pause before engaging.
6. Think of others
Now is the time to be checking and making sure that those that need it are doing ok. In recovery or not. Call elderly relatives- they are getting lonely too, and that really strong person in your recovery group- well they might not be doing so great. Think about any newcomers you met just before the isolation period came, remember how hard it was for you in the beginning and reach out to see how they’re doing. Service is not just for the people you are helping, but we know it raises our spirits too.
7. Remain positive
Everything you have ever learned in recovery has empowered you for a situation like this. Yes, these are uncertain times and uncertainty can be scary. But life is uncertain, it always has been and it always will be. It’s how we act and react that matters. Keep yourself in the here and now, make the sensible choices to keep yourself and those around you safe and ride it through.
We are here for you. If you're finding times tough, pick up the phone and reach out.
We’d love to hear if you have any suggestions to share during this time to help others in recovery. Please comment below and share your experience.