By: Marilyn L. Davis
COVID-19 Unites Us, Too
“Boomer or millennial, we’re all covidians now.”― Bill Doman
Whether you’re home because of COVID-19, work restrictions, furloughs, school closings, or layoffs, don’t let your recovery suffer. Here are few ways to help ensure you don’t relapse and a few ways to use that time at home while the world is temporarily closed.
Recovery Just Got Harder
Recovery is hard; it’s learning a new way of life, coping, repairing fractured relationships, and depending on others to show us how to do all of those.
These factors are more challenging as we try to maintain our recovery with the uncertainty and isolation imposed on us by COVID-19.
Without the social support, structure, and accountability that in-person meetings provide, many people are struggling more with the stay-at-home-social-distance-wear-a-mask safety measures imposed on us for our protection.
“Use Your Time Wisely,” My Mother Said
I’ve been home-bound since March 13th, 2020, or 335 days now. That’s a very long time to go without an in-person meeting. But I dug in, took the time to do some severe ōsōji, the annual cleaning of one’s home in Japan. Of course, I took it to an entirely new level – purged 30 years’ worth of antique linens.
When that didn’t get rid of enough stuff, I opted for the Swedish döstädning. “Dö” means “death,” and “städning” means “cleaning.”
All those antiques, Nickie-nacks, as my daughter referred to them when she was five – she’s now in her 50’s. Then the papers with scribbled ideas, feelings, or thoughts that seem disjointed, chaotic, or so outdated as to be wholly useless and looked at each tube, container, pan of make-up to check the expiration date. All donated, recycled, or sent to the dump.
Still no let up on COVID19.
- So I sold my townhouse, purged more, had the living estate sale, and waited for relief and an in-person meeting.
- I finished my memoir – Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate on Amazon.
- Then I moved.
“This too shall pass” isn’t Working
When we first experienced the sudden loss of in-person meetings, it wasn’t a big deal for some of us. Sure, we missed the fellowship, laughter, or helping someone. But we were sure it would pass. How often did we say, “This too shall pass,” or “Just don’t use today – tomorrow will be different.”
But it seems as if the anticipated tomorrow isn’t happening anytime soon.
Many old-timers, like myself, aren’t attending in-person meetings.
It’s not that you can’t get and remain in recovery without our input. Still, besides our ‘sage advice,’ we serve as a reminder that recovery is possible when you have a room full of people with double-digit recovery.
When we’re not comfortable participating in these meetings, encouragement is missing from many places, which is sad for newcomers.
And I miss seeing families reunited, people changing, and the warmth and support of the fellowship.
Are You Still Home-bound?
It’s still a scary time for some of us.
- Do we go out?
- How do we socially distance if we go to a meeting?
- Do people wear masks?
- Are they restricting the number of people who can attend?
- How do I handle old friends wanting to hug?
- Can listening to a podcast help me?
By the time I’ve obsessed on those questions, my heart rate is up, I’ve wasted 30 minutes thinking and getting no answers, and even if I chose to go to the meeting, I’d be late.
While You’re Home-bound
- Seek out an online meeting.
- Connect with recovery-oriented people on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media. We all have our favorites, and two of mine are RecoveryRocks and Alone I Can’t, Together We Can both on FB.
- Write a guest post for From Addict 2 Advocate.
- Cherish family members – email, FaceTime, or call them
- Facetime your recovery friends
- Read meditation books
- Read recovery literature
- Clean out your closet – think of it as a 7th Step – what do you keep and what do you want to be removed?
Isolation Fuels the Anxieties and Addiction
I know I’m not the only one who has negative thoughts. That’s the good news.
The downside of being home alone is there’s no one to dispel these negative thoughts except me, and I sometimes forget to refute the chatter.
Tell me I’m not alone in that?
See, that’s a question I could throw out at a meeting, get multiple perspectives on the thoughts, and leave my meeting feeling better – plus the hugs always helped.
Now? It’s harder to lessen the negativity in my head. And I have to confess certain things about being home for 335 days:
- I’m over tank tops, leggings, and relaxed outerwear.
- I’m getting less feedback from conversations with my cat, Jackson.
- The data usage on my phone could exceed my unlimited plan – is that possible?
- I’m writing reviews on food deliveries just for something to do.
Can We Find a Solution? Are There Any Answers?
If you’re like me, the statistics, advice, and realities are all confusing. The drops, the spikes, the flattening, curving upwards – downwards – all conflicting.
So what can you do to ensure that you get a meeting?
Not a Facebook fan? Don’t worry; Google has us covered for online meetings. Here’s the link.
Want to hear from various perspectives on recovery? Try YouTube:
Above All – Don’t Relapse
This, too, shall pass – when?!
It beats me, but I know that more than anything else, a relapse would destroy what I’ve worked to achieve in these 32 years of recovery.
Solution – hang in there, and when the world opens again, I’ll see you at a meeting.
Writing and recovery heal the heart.
As I’ve always said, old-timers aren’t the only ones with sage advice. There is someone out there struggling with their addiction or recovery who would benefit from your words. Please consider a guest post. Here are the guidelines