One thing most addicts will agree on is that addiction thrives in the dark. Isolation and loneliness are two of the biggest relapse triggers that are out there. Needless to say, it is a scary time in the world of recovery. Now, more than ever, we need each other! As we move through this very necessary moment of responsible social distancing, we are having to support one another by finding safe and alternative ways to make connections. While we might be physically alone, there are multiple ways we can connect to others. There are also many ways we can use this time to positively connect to ourselves.
How We Can Connect With Others, Alone
If you haven’t done it already, pick up the phone! Whether it’s to call a friend, family member, classmate or sponsor—pick up the phone and reach out. Talking to another person and hearing their voice is extremely soothing and can help you recenter during times of stress. Also, speaking with another person about their problems helps you get out of your own head and it helps others to do the same.
Use technology to your full advantage! Are you familiar with recovery-based apps on your phone? If not, please see our following blog post, Part II: Apps to Stay in the Herd. We give a full breakdown of the top 3 addiction/relapse-prevention apps for iPhone and Android.
Hop on FaceTime, Zoom, Houseparty or any kind of video chat interface that allows you to see someone’s face rather than just hear their voice. Let’s face it. (No pun intended!) If you haven’t FaceTimed with someone yet, it can feel very vulnerable. Brene Brown, the country’s most well known shame and vulnerability researcher says, “Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” and she’s right. Calling someone, especially on FaceTime, can feel very risky because we’re saying, “Here I am! I just might…maybe..be lonely!” The best part about doing this is that it gives someone else the space to say, “Hey, me too. Let’s talk about it.” Facetime is an extremely valuable tool we have the opportunity to use during this time, to create a higher level of connection.
Since we are all mostly at home these days, many practitioners and providers are offering online or virtual appointments. Does your therapist have telehealth offerings? Now is the time to ask!
How Can We Connect With Ourselves?
Before the Covid19 pandemic hit the country, the day-to-day routines we all took part in did not look like this. It’s pretty safe to say that we are living out of the ordinary. Not having the options to go out to eat, workout at the gym, attend recovery meetings, visit with family members…it’s quite the out of body experience. In the same breath, when in the history of our lives have we ever had this opportunity before? The opportunity to truly get quiet and spend time finding what makes us happy with absolutely zero distractions. Here are a few ideas we have to help take care of and connect with yourselves during these stressful times.
Create a routine that you look forward to! Think back to a time during your life when you didn’t have a routine. Maybe it was when you weren’t sober and had a really difficult time sticking to a routine at all. What an incredible opportunity we have right now. Start to build a routine that brings you relaxation. Maybe that includes waking up & making breakfast for your family. Maybe it’s making coffee and meditating on your living room floor. Maybe it’s as simple as making your bed. Whatever it is, routines bring order and purpose to daily tasks. During times like these, we can feel very out of order because our typical day-to-day’s have been turned on their heads. Start thinking about creating a routine for yourself is sustainable, and brings you back to center.
Think back to the times when you were insanely busy, exhausted, and just wanted to be at home doing what you wanted to do…what did that look like? A huge part of addiction recovery is surrendering to the fact that you are not in control. Step 1 of the 12-Step recovery program states, “we admitted we were powerless…that our lives had become unmanageable.” Sound a little familiar? A big piece of the quarantine conversation is that we’re all frustrated that we can’t do what we want! Take this time to rest, reset, and think about what it is you’re really interested in. Could it be a new hobby? Journaling? Did you ever want to get back into reading?
Take some free workout classes on Zoom or Instagram! Almost EVERY workout facility across America is offering classes at no cost to keep the feeling of community alive. If you’re looking for something to offer some stress relief, there are paid yoga classes that are now providing online classes for free as well.
What about something education-related? All Ivy League schools are offering hundreds of online courses completely free! Since so many people are facing mental health issues during this time, Yale is offering one of their number one courses: The Science of Well-Being, for free right now. Maybe you’d like to learn a new language? Whatever it may be, hop online and take a look because we guarantee you’ll find something you’re interested in.
The beauty of having such advanced technology at this time is that the internet keeps us connected, while still being apart. Things may seem a little grim right now, but we need to remember we’re in this together. There are so many options out there for us to take advantage of. As long as we take it one day at a time and focus on the positive, we’ll all come out on the other side of this thing together. (And some of us may even know French!)