When the world is in this COVID-19 lockdown, how can we stay sober?
Businesses are shut down. We can’t go to the places we love to go to or see the people we love to see. For those of us in recovery, this can be an especially scary situation. We don’t have access to the things that help us stay sober! Addiction meetings with our fellows are, for many of us, the stable connection we have. Isolation is especially tricky for those of us with substance abuse issues.
So, how do we stay sober in during coronavirus quarantine? Here are a few suggestions to keep you connected and stable.
1. One day at a time.
We are all familiar with this concept. We approach sobriety in small, manageable chunks. At first, staying sober for even one day can seem impossible. We may have to stay sober 5 minutes at a time at first. With time, we learn that we can stay sober, no matter what, for the day. We worry about staying sober tomorrow…tomorrow.
We can use the same concept when we are dealing with sobriety and calamity today. No matter what life throws at us, we can stay sober today.
How many days did we think would never end?
For most of us, many.
Did they end?
Yes they did.
This one will too.
If we can lay our head on the pillow tonight sober, regardless of what has happened, we can feel good about our choices.
2. Trust Life
Many of us needed to find a higher power to help us get sober. We don’t want to admit that we couldn’t handle alcohol, drugs or life by ourselves. But, after looking at ourselves more closely, our personal power was not keeping us safe, happy or sober. We are forced to find another power to rely on. Relying on a higher power can get us sober and keep us that way. Once we see that, we can learn to trust life and the things that come with it. We don’t try to control what we really can’t control anyway….people, places and, today, world events. We have to try to trust that there is an intelligence and power that is at work here that will carry us through.
3. Help Others
One of the basic tenets of meaningful recovery is service. When we help others in any capacity, we change focus. We shift from thinking about ourselves to thinking about the welfare of others. So much of our addictive mindset is based on selfish thinking. Cut the lifeline to the ego and we cut off the stream of addictive thinking.
How can we be of service to others when we are limited by disaster or world affairs? Perhaps we can do someone’s shopping for them. Maybe a short video chat to check in on friends or people newly sober will help. We can text people and let them know we are thinking about them. Donate to charity or spread funny uplifting memes to social media. The power of making someone else’s life better cannot be overstated. It is a renewable resource. When we help others, it comes back to us in the form of joy, peace and a sense of purpose. When we know we have value to others we don’t want drugs or alcohol.
4. Self Care
We hear the term “self care” a lot, lately. Self care is not just taking bubble baths and having your nails done or having a massage. When we talk about self care in stressful times, we talk about making sure the body and mind have a chance to heal. Short walks around the neighborhood will help us find calm and some perspective. Make sure you are eating some fresh fruits and vegetables, not just sweets and comfort-munchies. Getting proper rest and sleep will keep us balanced emotionally and physically. A hot bath and a warm dinner can make all the difference in troubling times. If you are confined to your home, try to find a quiet place for meditation or reading. Staring at the news all day can create more stress.
5. Keep going to meetings
In today’s world, online recovery meetings are plentiful and actually quite fun. There is no excuse to miss an addiction meeting today, if you have access to wifi and a cel phone.
Also, intherooms.org has a huge list of online options. Now, you can attend an AA meeting in Australia and still be sitting on your couch, munching on veggies and petting your dog. Try it out, we dare you.