If we had to have a pandemic, thank goodness it happened during the digital technology age! With the aid of technology, many people have been able to continue to work remotely from the safety of their homes. Just as important, technology has also provided the means to remain socially connected while we practice physical distancing measures.
Nowhere has digital technology been so critical as it has for the recovery community. Connection is an essential aspect of continued sobriety. People in recovery depend on their sober support network and an array of recovery support services during normal times, and for many, it became even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual support services, in a variety of forms, have come to the rescue in 2020.
The Importance of Connection in Recovery
Isolation can be highly detrimental to recovery from a substance use disorder. Individuals in recovery become vulnerable to relapse when they lose contact with their trusted support sources. In fact, peer support and connection are the basis of most recovery communities such as A.A. and SMART Recovery.
Being resilient during the pandemic is imperative for those in recovery. Shifting from in-person meetings, therapy sessions, and sober activities to virtual versions this year has allowed people to continue their recovery efforts. While not ideal in comparison to in-person events, these alternative virtual settings go a long way to offer ongoing access to support during a difficult time.
With the development of telehealth systems and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, those in substance recovery have a wide range of digital support options available. Keep reading to learn about them.
5 Ways to Access Virtual Support During COVID-19
Humans find ways to adapt when life presents a challenge. Like a strong survival instinct, someone who is committed to sobriety will let nothing stand in their way—even if they have to occasionally get creative. Here are some ideas for maintaining a connection to your recovery resources virtually throughout the pandemic:
- Virtual Recovery Meetings. Fortunately, over the course of the past several months, the online recovery community has flourished. The established programs, including A.A., N.A., SMART Recovery, and others, have solidified their online platforms and now offer support at all hours of the day. This provides easy, convenient access to social support sources from the comfort of home.
- Virtual Therapy Sessions. One of the most important priorities during the pandemic is to protect mental health by learning how to manage stress and anxiety. Video conferencing technology provides an excellent alternative to connect licensed clinicians with outpatient clients. No one should be without the necessary resources to help them maintain recovery, especially when feelings of stress and anxiety may run high.
- Virtual Sober Meetups. Maintaining social connections is paramount to recovery. Depending on your location, physical distancing policies may have greatly reduced the ability to see friends in person. Many sober meetup groups have been able to continue meetings via virtual platforms like Zoom. Likewise, sober Facebook groups and online sobriety forums also provide opportunities to socialize virtually.
- Virtual Spiritual Support. For many in recovery, involvement in a spiritual or religious community has been vital. As more and more states decide to lock down again, church services and ministries have gone online. No matter what spiritual community you participate in, chances are they have prayer meetings, Bible studies, and other spiritual support options available via virtual platforms.
- Virtual Holistic Support. Mental health is closely aligned with the ability to achieve a peaceful state of mind. Even if your local gym or yoga studio has closed temporarily, you can still access yoga classes on YouTube and other online platforms. Guided meditation and mindfulness training content also widely available on smartphone apps or YouTube.
Technology has provided the digital options to remaining close to sober support networks. Staying in contact with the people in your lifes that help reinforce your recovery efforts is essential. After all, a virtual connection is better, and healthier, than no connection.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs, and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.