It feels like overnight we’ve entered strange, uncertain times. Schools are closed in many places. Public gatherings are being discouraged. Basic supplies are flying off grocery store shelves. Those of us who depend on social, in-person support to maintain our sobriety might be wondering what to do and how long this will all last. Let’s take a look at some resources to help us understand what’s going on, find the support we need and keep our minds occupied during our social distancing.
Resources for Understanding the Coronavirus
News about the coronavirus can feel overwhelming. If reading or watching the news is increasing your anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. Consider limiting the amount of news you take in. Consider switching to news sources that don’t increase your anxiety. For example, if Twitter feels overwhelming, log out for a while. Delete the app from your phone or use an app to block Twitter and Facebook for a few hours.
If you want to stay informed in a controlled way, consider choosing one or two news sources that you trust. The CDC has a website that’s being updated regularly. Harvard Health also has reliable resources. The Washington Post is offering free access to a lot of its coronavirus coverage. Choose one or two resources and read them when you feel like you can handle the news. You don’t need to spend all day, every day reading up on what’s going on (and you shouldn’t). But if it helps to stay informed, find a few reliable sources to review selectively.
Resources for Staying Connected in Sobriety
Support groups are essential to recovery for many. You may go to 12-step meetings, where you can share your experiences and learn from others in recovery. Unfortunately, gathering in person isn’t a great idea these days. The good news is that there are many online meetings. One resource that’s being crowd-sourced is a list of online 12-step meetings. Since this is a crowd-sourced list, there’s no guarantee that every meeting will be great. But if you can find one or two that work for you, online meetings can help you stay connected.
You could also host your own online meeting. Contact other folks in recovery and decide on a time and a platform. Zoom is a popular option. Google Hangouts is another way to gather a small group online. Skype also allows video calls and chats.
Facebook Groups can also be a good resource. You can search for groups focused on sobriety or even start your own group and invite trusted peers in recovery. On Twitter and Instagram, you may want to follow people and organizations that offer a positive message and sobriety support. On both platforms, you can search by hashtags like #sober #sobriety and #aameetings for accounts that will inspire and support you.
Resources for Stress Relief
These are stressful times. It’s okay if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Now might be the time to incorporate some self-care practices into your routine (or add new ones). For example, a lot of people find strength in spiritual practices. Prayer can be a simple way to connect with your higher power. Meditation can be calming and centering. Tara Brach’s website has several guided meditations. Headspace and Calm are both meditation apps. Both are paid apps, but they offer free trials. YouTube also has several guided meditations. Many people find yoga to be centering as well.
Several organizations are offering online cultural resources. Many zoos and museums are offering online tours and classes. Laughter can also be a powerful stress reliever. Try turning into your favorite sitcom or a funny movie. Finding something else to focus on can also help. Puzzles and crafts can be a good way to keep your mind off of what’s going on.
While we do need to keep our distance, we can still go outside. Consider talking a walk in a local park, or finding a bench and watching the birds. It can be helpful to appreciate the natural world around us.
Gratitude can also be a helpful practice. It might seem difficult to find things to be grateful for, but they’re there. You can be grateful for your sobriety and the steps you’ve taken toward recovery. You might be grateful for your friends or family or the beauty of the natural world. Some people find keeping a gratitude journal to be helpful.
Find Additional Support at New Life
At New Life Addiction Counseling and Mental Health Services, we know that these are challenging times. We’re here to help. We’ve moved our services online to ensure people can still receive the services they need. If you’re ready to start your journey to sobriety, or if you’re experiencing difficulties during this crisis, we’re still seeing patients and assessing new ones. Contact us at 855-292-0717 to learn more.