COVID-19 and lockdown has been especially tough for people in recovery from addiction because addiction leads to and flourishes in isolation. As alcohol and other drugs use can overtake a person’s life, their social life and contact with others then begins to narrow. Thus, substance use becomes the main focus in one’s life. Family and friends as a result become less important in one’s day to day life. During the shelter-in-place order, isolation can exacerbate these concerns and someone who is in recovery might not have the social support in place during these times to help them cope. So hiding can become part of the solution to not dealing with your own emotions, which can lead one to not only being isolated in their homes, but also in their bodies.
Recovery means reaching out to others, attending 12 step meetings and asking for help. This is one of the most difficult things for those in recovery to learn to do as well as to maintain. Now that our lives have changed due to social isolation, which is what is needed to stay healthy and for the safety of our communities, it is also important to acknowledge that this is challenging for those in recovery. With in-person 12 step meetings being cancelled, those in recovery need to work harder to keep themselves part of a group. Isolation can be one of their worst enemies during one’s journey to recovery and maintaining sobriety as being alone with their own thoughts can exacerbate the loneliness most are feeling during the Coronavirus.
Further, isolation can be a trigger for those who are in recovery. This is the time to remember that “one addict helps another.” So make sure you are reaching out to your sponsor and network more often than you were before. Step work is still possible to complete even though it might not take the same format. Meetings are available at all hours via different online platforms, such as Zoom. Meetings are important because during meetings those in recovery can practice acts of service, such as making coffee, setting up chairs, and socializing.
AA(Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are a population that thrives on face to face support. One suggestion is to set up meetings via Zoom or Google Hangouts around meals and coffee. Those in recovery have often shared with me how difficult it can be to ask for help on the phone, it is important to remember that you are not alone in that feeling. Social distancing has added reaching out as an additional barrier and when you can acknowledge that you are also working to take a step to combat that barrier.
According to research related to maintaining sobriety during COVID-19, here are some tips those in recovery may find helpful:
- Use this time forto reflect and tap into reasons why you want to be sober.
- It is a good time to connect and reconnect with others.
- Use technology to have meaningful and thoughtful conversations and to be kind to one self and others and show ourselves self compassion.
- Be reflective and show support and be a supportive member of the community.
- Maintaining a routine structure is a vital coping skill to maintain sobriety.
If you are in need of additional support during these times, Harbor Village is continuing to offer services. Given the current situation with COVID-19, we are now working remotely in accordance with public health guidelines pertaining to social distancing. If you would like to learn more about our virtual options for services, please contact us to discuss how we can best support you in your recovery.