With the unprecedented and increasing intensity of the coronavirus outbreak, we have watched the world slowly shut down. World leaders and government officials are calling for people to practice social distancing and to self-quarantine in an effort to help stop the spread. In the U.S., federal and local governments are recommending that people do not gather in numbers larger than 10. With these increased protective measures and the focus on public health, practicing the principle that connection is the key to recovery has become virtually impossible. So how do we cope when the very essence of recovery is no longer accessible to us in the same ways?
Principles of Recovery
It’s important to remember the basic principles of recovery, especially in stressful times when all of the anxiety and social distancing becomes too much. Recovery at its essence is rooted in building positive connections in your life. Connections with other recovery-oriented, likeminded people that are often lost during active addiction; developing a healthy relationship with yourself; and connecting to a power greater than self that provides meaning and purpose. These principles become a guiding light to those who are in recovery from a substance use disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the 10 guiding principles of recovery are:
- Individualized and person-centered
- Peer Support
How to Cope with Social Distancing
It is easy to let anxiety and depression take over in times of distress. Consuming the 24/7 news cycle and engaging with social media has been shown to exacerbate feelings of isolation and despair. Understanding that recovery is rooted in connection, it is essential that you continue to find new ways to create positive, recovery-oriented connections and continue managing your mental health. Use technology to your advantage to continue conversations:
- Continue Counseling as needed: engage in telemedicine including counseling. With the current crisis restrictions on telehealth care have been modified and many providers are still offering services online so there is no lapse in mental health care.
- Find virtual support group meetings: although in-person meetings are being advised against, many treatment providers and other recovery organizations are offering virtual support group meetings.
- Regular Communication with Recovery Support Network: continue regular communication with families, friends and others in your recovery support group. Facetime can also help to bring an ease to any anxiety related to social distancing from those around you and mitigate feelings of isolation.
- Maintain Healthy Routines: a healthy diet and exercise are crucial to combating feelings of anxiety and depression and in many cases, is more helpful than the use of medication. Go for a walk, find free online workouts, cook fresh meals, and keep a routine as you can. This is a great time to recommit to a daily exercise routine that will take you long past this time.
- Control What You Can: keep your living space clean, organized and free of clutter. It’s easy to let things go and fall into a funk, but organizing your life and physical environment is vital to remaining emotionally regulated.
- Meditate and Pray: A guided meditation via YouTube is a great way to center yourself in the midst of the swirling anxiety in the country right now. You can also engage in yoga session and online worship services to connect to your higher power.
- Practice Gratitude: A practice of gratitude is the singular most transformation habit for many people in recovery. Make a gratitude list to shift your focus from the doom and gloom in the world to the blessings that are right in front of you.
Although we are spending more time alone or in smaller groups, it doesn’t have to mean that connection is lost. Solidifying a new routine, finding those ways that feel the best to connect to your recovery support and practicing gratitude will all help to fight feelings of isolation and make this time of anxiety more manageable.
Ashley Addiction Treatment believes that connection is the key to recovery, with treatment options focused on holistic, integrated, and compassionate care. Ashley believes in giving you the tools to help navigate life’s most challenging events during and after treatment. If you would like to speak to someone about our care options, please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.