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As the country works together to find ways of dealing with today’s health crisis, those in addiction recovery are working to find ways to stay connected to their support systems. Isolation, loneliness, and boredom are common triggers for relapse, so this time of social distancing calls for creative ways to stay sober and keep one’s recovery on track.
The Impact of Social Distancing on the Those in Recovery
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following social distancing measures:
- Keeping a distance of at least six feet (two meters) between people
- Staying out of crowded places
- Avoiding mass gatherings
- Limiting gatherings of people to no more than ten in any confined area
Social distancing has a direct impact on those in recovery. It means support groups, 12-Step meetings, and many other ways of connecting with others are postponed or canceled. The good news is that today’s technology provides many options to stay safe and connected.
Ways to Stay Connected During Social Distancing
Attend Online Recovery Support Meetings
Many 12-Step groups such as AA and NA are offering online meetings. These general meetings are open to anyone who wants to join. You can find different schedules and attend the ones that are best for you. Whether you choose to share your story or just listen to others, you will feel welcomed and connected.
It’s also easy to find recovery-focused social media groups and monitored forums that provide a place to meet and connect with others. Online meetings provide a place where you can network, talk through any negative thoughts you may be having, exchange ideas and suggestions on activities to enjoy indoors, and exchange words of encouragement.
Use FaceTime or Video Chat to Connect with Friends
If you have the technology, try to FaceTime or video chat with someone every day. It could be a loved one, your sponsor, a supportive friend, or someone from your regular meeting group. A video call allows you to see the person you are calling and provides a stronger sense of connection.
Use Telemedicine to Connect with Your Mental Health Specialist or Therapist
Many psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors are using telemedicine to stay connected with their patients.
Join a Private Facebook Group
Many private groups are being formed on Facebook and other social media outlets so people can stay connected and continue to support one another. You can create your own group, too.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts and emotions is a great way to focus your attention, calm your mind, and reduce stress. Before you act on an impulse, write it down. Give yourself time to work through the problem.
Spend Some Time Outside
If you are feeling healthy, spend some time enjoying the outdoors. Talk a walk, work in your garden, or sit under a tree and read a book. The fresh air and natural surroundings can be therapeutic and help you feel less alone.
Update Your Social Media Settings
Yes, social media is an excellent way to stay connected, but it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Snooze, mute, or unfollow people who share upsetting, triggering, or inaccurate information, opinions, or images. Look for content that is positive and uplifting.
Take Care of Your Health
Eat a nutritionally balanced diet, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and stay connected to your loved ones. Remain as physically active as possible while practicing social distancing.
If You Need Help
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there is help available. Call and speak to a professional at Canyon Vista Recovery Center in Mesa, Arizona. They will answer your questions and explain how you can get the help you need to lead a clean and sober life.