Staying Sober During a Pandemic Quarantine
We are in an unprecedented time of our lives, and of an entire generation. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it a for people of every demographic.
When unable to interact as before with one’s doctors, therapists, loved ones and fellows in recovery, physical and emotional sobriety will be challenged. Fear and other debilitating feelings are common, and nothing to be ashamed of. But there are tools available to support your sobriety and recovery through this time. The following are suggested:
Maintain a Routine
A great many people have been furloughed or have switched from working from home. Regardless of your situation, maintain your current routine to the best extent that you can. If you get up and meditate, then shower and dress, keep doing that, even if you are working in your living room or not working at your previous job.
Continue to take breaks when you would have taken them at your workplace, and have meals at the same times daily. We, humans, are creatures of habit and when our emotions are disrupted, maintaining a semblance of normalcy in our daily routine can carry us a long way.
Develop Healthy Habits
As tempting as it may be to watch Netflix and eat snacks all day, keeping healthy habits will also lessen stress and anxiety in times of upheaval. Keep your same sleep schedule. Make sure you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, take supplements or vitamins, and move your body. If you are able to go outside to get exercise without physical or government restriction, then do so. Otherwise, try to do some light stretching or workouts that you can find online for free.
Maintain contact with your close circle. You may find yourself naturally wanting to reach out more simply because we are all currently limited in actual physical contact with our loved ones. Call your sponsor or spiritual guide and stay in touch with any counselors or therapists. Use technology to your advantage and get on video chats with your loved ones.
Attend Virtual 12-Step Meetings
If you were attending 12-step meetings, you will notice how many groups have adapted quickly and moved their meetings to a virtual format. You can check your local meeting listing (usually on the intergroup website for your region) for information on online meetings. Many groups are still adapting to this new way of meeting and information is being updated constantly. Make sure to check back daily for updates.
There are also many speaker tapes available online that you can listen to. A lot can be found on YouTube, and a quick Google search will bring up a wealth of recovery-related information.
This is a great time to use all of the recovery tools in your toolbox. If you are in a 12-step group, read the literature such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Daily Reflection, or the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. If you have other spiritual literature, develop a routine of reading from it daily. Take time to meditate and reflect on your readings. And journaling is now, and always, recommended.
Get a Hobby
If you have been furloughed or laid off, now would be a good time to develop a hobby! Think of all of the things you have wanted to do but have never had the time. Learn to play guitar with lessons on YouTube, start a yoga routine, or learn to write or draw. Having a hobby and keeping yourself occupied can help you stay in the present moment and allow the hard work you’ve done for your recovery to do its job.
Ask for Help!
As always, if you are truly struggling with sobriety and fearful thoughts during this time, ask for help! Use any resources available to you to reach out to other people. Use the virtual meetings to commune with others in recovery, use video calls to connect with family and friends, or just pick up the phone. Call your therapist, doctor, sponsor or anyone in your circle, or even outside of your circle, who can listen. Anyone.
We at Heartland House are doing our part as well to continue to monitor the situation and how this pandemic will affect our residents and staff. Please stay tuned in to our website for any updates or changes. And if you cannot get in touch with anyone and need help, please give us a call.