When you hear most people talk about the Covid19, they seem to generalize in saying that we are all in this together.
The truth is, we are in the same storm, but experiencing it very differently. We are in the same storm alright, but we are all riding it in different boats.
Some People are sailing through in a cruise. While the majority of the people are riding shaky boats that will need a lot of help to survive the ride and stay afloat.
In this blog, the focus is mainly on those in recovery: If you or a loved one are in recovery, there are a few steps that we will explore that maybe able to help in surviving the effects of the current restrictions and shut in place isolation and keeping the hope for the dreams of recovery.
Recovery from addiction in isolation may be the hardest thing that anyone can do in this present time. But we must maintain our hope to survive this with success no matter the magnitude of the shelter in place aftermath is.
If you are in addiction, you have to be conscious that this will need conscious decisions to stay successful in recovery.
How to cope with loneliness in isolation
When the world shut in place calls, the panic waves went wild for many people with worries on what will happen to their jobs, what they will eat when the funds run out and for others how they will pay rent.
As we all got affected by these things, those in addiction recovery were also worried how they will get through this unprecedented isolation and especially the ones that had just exited a short term rehab and found themselves all alone.
Groups like the AA and other 12 steps were created to let those in recovery to be around people and be social and feel connected with like-minded people. The social distancing has taken this away with all these groups trying to do this on line.
While in physical Isolation, anyone one has the capacity for self-pity: this breeds loneliness, depression and anxiety for anyone in recovery which is a slippery road as these are the main causes of drug and alcohol use and addiction.
While in isolation, the easiest way to get through is to make sure that the emotional tank is not running on empty. When this social distancing began, most people started with an emotional tank that was already low. Having to deal with all the emotions that the corona pandemic brings, we need to have to consciously replenish the emotional tank each day in spite of what is going on. Below are some steps that will help.
Show Grace to yourself and others around you:
Finding grace in today’s world is hard. The bible says that “He gives more grace.
Therefore, He says:“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
The best way to cope with Isolation is to show some grace for yourself first so that you have something to offer for others. Don’t try to be super human. Take one day at a time and pay attention to your feelings.
With Isolation, you don’t expect to be performing at full capacity like the other days. There are times that you will wake up and feel still so tired, this is normal in times like this.
Give yourself some grace to replenish and adjust with all that is going on around us.
Schedule a daily Connection
Intentionally make every effort to stay connected.
Though the AA and other 12 groups are shut, that should not mean that you shut down all connections.
The best way to do this is to list a few people that you love or at least like or care about.
This could be people from previous meetings, from work or school or family members. Schedule a Call, zoom, Skype or face time with them one person a day to make sure each day you are engaged with someone.
This will provide a time for fellowship which will allow you to emotionally replenish your tank. The bible tells us to encourage one another: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up…”
If you live in an area that has a church with care callers or food banks, volunteer in one of them to stay connected. This will not only serve you well with replenish your emotional tank but will also help build new connections.
Limit the amount watching or listening to News
Watching news over a long time is not helpful. Most of the times, the news just repeats what they already said but your mind will keep processing it. No matter how strong your emotional tank, this is a sure way to deplete it. The news will raise your stress levels and also your anxiety.
Focus on the positive and what is helpful. The bible tells us that what you see is what you become. In Matthew 6 22-23 Jesus said: “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
The News also from social media is no exception. Limit your time also on social media as this could for one take too much of your time and leave you mentally exhausted. Proverbs 15:14 warns that “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly”
Start and stick with a routine
Structure is critical if you are recovering from addiction in isolation. It’s important to have a routine even if you are not going to work or better still not leaving the house.
Staying in does not mean that life will have to stop.
Set a routine that will have each hour or block of time accounted for.
Routine develops resilience and predictability creates stability.
Having a set routine will go a long way in the journey and make the shut in place a recovery isolation.
Start and end each day by guarding your soul
Science has proved that what you do first thing after you wake up will determine the attitude and choices for the rest of the day.
If you are trying to lose weight, taking a glass of water determines that you will make healthy choices all day.
The same is true if you are in recovery. Focus on the choice you make as soon as you wake up. Don’t reach for your phone or the remote control. Instead, start by meditating on the word of God and end your day with the same.
This will direct the way you think and the choices you make. Ephesians 5: 15-16 tells us to “Watch carefully then how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise,16 making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil.”
While you seek ways on how to cope with addiction in the midst of Corona Virus, the most important thing is to keep an eye on the main things that will kill the hope for your recovery. This includes Fatigue, I isolation and anxiety. Remember, you can not reach full healthy with perpetual physical and emotional exhaustion.
The social distancing may end but the aftermath of the covid might go on longer. If you are in recovery, keep all your focus on recovery no matter what happens.
Like little children trying to walk fall a thousand times and keep waking up with the hope to one day be able to walk, keep the recovery dream alive.
If you are in recovery, please share with us how you are coping. Will be glad to hear from you.