Growing while practicing social distancing

Covid-19 has created a new reality. We are being told to stay away from people and to hunker down in our homes. Kids are home for school and offices are handing out laptops. Work from home protocols are being passed around from employers and Netflix accounts are being renewed.

As overwhelming as it may be, human beings are resilient and find ways to adapt. Being alone isn’t what we are used to, but we can handle it. For a little while anyway.

But for a person in recovery, being apart can be dangerous. Healthy routines and community support are so important to resisting drug and alcohol abuse triggers and continued growth. Your 12-step group may be a huge part of your life and their meetings serve as an anchor.

 What do we do now?

Do I go to my meeting? Do I hug my sponsor? Am I doing lunch with my best friend? How do I stay at peace?

While we may have to cut back on physical connection these days, we can strengthen our emotional ones. Let’s talk about some ways we can continue growing while social distancing. Be calm and laugh as much as you can.

  1. Stick to your home group and 12-step meeting.

You’ve been meaning to check out that group 20 miles down the road. Everyone says how nice the people are. You’ll get there eventually but now isn’t the time. Focus on your small close-knit group. Concentrate on the relationships you are already blessed with. Your friends and you have so much strength and the power to support each other through all this confusion. Being in your comfortable space will give you the serenity to remain calm and to calm others.

Try to keep the group small. Maybe rotate if it’s a bit large. Follow all the guidelines we are being given and continue supporting each other. If you can’t meet in person, find out about videoconferencing. Let’s use technology to our advantage.

If you are having trouble contacting someone in your moment of need don’t forget SAMHSA. They have a 24-hour distress hotline and are very helpful at times like this.

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline

  • Be kind to each other.

          We can’t touch people with our hands, but we can touch with our hearts.  Remember that friend you met in the beginning of your recovery journey. You heard she has been struggling. You’ve been meaning to call her. Pick up the phone! Ask after her wellbeing. Exchange serenity tips. Maybe you found a book or an article that encouraged you. Share it! We don’t have to be in the same room to fight off loneliness.

  • Have fun digitally.

Does your group of buddies have a show you talk about a lot? “Friends” maybe, or “Veep”, or that latest Netflix comedy? Stage a rewatch together! Start a text chat. Share the best lines or the scenes that made you laugh. Go GIF crazy! Keep it light. The new sci-fi medical drama will wait.

Start a book club. Find something inspirational or even that dog-eared book your mom read to you hundreds of time as a kid. Send it around!

Are you into gaming? And stuck at home? Arrange a tournament with your peeps. Have some fun with it! We always talk about how everyone is so connected digitally these days. Bring company into your homes virtually. Laugh, joke, yell and scream. Distraction can be valuable. Take advantage.

  • Stay in touch with your sponsor

If you are feeling overwhelmed reach out! Call your sponsor or someone you lean on. The people that care about you are still within reach. Even if your meet up was canceled do it over the phone. Talk about what you are dealing with. Share your experience. Many of us are dealing with similar anxiety. It helps to talk it through. We can help each other, love each other, support each other.

  • Stay in touch with your inner peace.

The 12-steps talks of the Higher Power. We can tap into it! Focus on the blessings in your life and how much kindness you have been shown. Think of how much progress He has helped you make and how bright your future is becoming. Practice your mindfulness techniques. Find a place where you feel safe and don’t be ashamed to pray. 

The crisis will pass. We are not alone. In fact, we can be closer to each other than ever!

If we use the moment wisely, it can be an opportunity to grow nearer to each other. We have the will to avoid substance abuse relapse. We can still continue our journey of recovery and we can still do it together.

We got this!

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Brooke Abner,

Motivational Coach