Long before COVID-19 began, America was fighting another pandemic: the disease of addiction. Countless individuals have left drugs and alcohol behind in order to begin their lives again, putting in the hard work to maintain their sobriety. Today, coronavirus dominates headlines and local policy decisions, meaning that those in recovery need to adapt in order to protect their sobriety amid lockdowns and self-quarantine. We’ve put together our top recommendations about staying sober during COVID-19.
Attend Group Meetings Remotely
In accordance with guidelines for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), in-person 12-step meetings have been almost entirely suspended nationwide. Fortunately, organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have worked diligently to make recovery meetings available online or by phone.
Fellowship is one of the most vital pillars of recovery; without the support and accountability provided by others, it can be challenging to maintain your sobriety, especially during such a tumultuous time. Maintaining contact with others in recovery is vital during the COVID-19 outbreak. We encourage you to participate in these remote group meetings regularly.
Find Inspiration and Entertainment
Boredom can be a significant relapse trigger for many, and during self-quarantine, it can be hard to stay entertained. Keeping boredom at bay is essential to staying sober during COVID-19. Instead of zoning out or ruminating, use your newfound time at home to find sources of inspiration in your recovery. Consider revisiting a favorite book about life after drugs and alcohol, or looking for blogs that share tips for revitalizing your recovery during this time. Many people are also participating in online yoga and meditation classes in an effort to find their center during the coronavirus crisis. Finding resources like these will keep you busy and maintain your focus on recovery.
The isolation inherent to coronavirus self-quarantine can be difficult for many, especially those in recovery. However, there are many steps you can take to foster connection with others during this time. For example:
- Choose a different friend or relative to call every day.
- Schedule Facetime or Skype sessions with your sober support network.
- Use a service like Netflix Party to host remote movie nights with your friends.
- Join Facebook groups and subreddits that center around sobriety and support.
- Send messages of support via SMS or social media.
If you are an alumni, family member, or current patient of Lakeside-Milam, please consider downloading our app for access to a rich network of support and resources. Through this service, you’ll be able to track your recovery progress, keep a gratitude journal, join wellness challenges, read articles, listen to podcasts, watch videos, and get help from recovery experts. Our app is available on the App Store and Google Play. You can also text “LMRC” to 555888 to download.
Nearly every piece of professional advice regarding COVID-19 includes a note to stay active. This can mean different things for different people, depending on their personal activity level and access to the outdoors. As long as you are prioritizing your personal safety, there is no reason why everyone can’t get moving during this time.
To stay active indoors, try yoga, body weight exercises, or circuit training. You don’t need a home gym, fancy equipment, or a personal trainer to work out! These activities can be done with guidance from YouTube videos or local instructors who have moved their fitness classes online. Make a list of poses or exercises you’d like to focus on and set aside at least 30 minutes each day to practice them. If you’d like to mix things up, try a different activity each day, or video call a friend to work out together. There are plenty of online resources detailing available at-home exercises and free videos to help you stay fit at home.
For those able to get outside, we encourage you to do so. Whether you’re taking a walk or a leisurely bike ride, the sun and fresh air can be incredibly invigorating. The endorphins released from exercise also provide a needed boost to your routine. Spending time outdoors when possible will reduce feelings of claustrophobia and isolation, breaking up the days and giving you something to look forward to.
Note: Check your local advisory for guidance before leaving your house or apartment. If you venture outside, be sure to adhere to CDC and WHO guidelines regarding physical distance from others.
Try Something New
If you’re struggling to fill your days, consider adopting a new hobby or project around the house. You can enroll in online classes to learn something new – Harvard University has many available for free – or rediscover a pastime that you haven’t had time for in years.
This is a great time to tap into your inner artist. Many companies have released content in response to the coronavirus outbreak. For aspiring musicians, Fender has begun offering three months of free online lessons to all who sign up on their site. Brit + Co, a DIY crafting company, is offering free access to all of their online classes as well. No matter what you’d like to learn, there’s an outlet perfect for your needs.
Staying Sober During COVID-19
At Lakeside-Milam, we’ve spent over 35 years helping thousands of people to find lasting recovery. Your health and safety are our top priority. We’re working diligently to adhere to CDC and WHO guidelines regarding coronavirus, and our staff are standing by to support you. For more information about our coronavirus response, click here. Please contact us if you need assistance staying sober during COVID-19.