written by Tiffany Merchant, MS, NCC, LPC
During this difficult time of social distancing, many have reconnected with their immediate family, slowed down, and enjoyed the calm. For some, their mental health issues have increased. And for still others, their lives are physically on the line. While the front line “essential” workers are putting their lives at risk, there is another group of people whose danger is hidden in plain sight. Their fight is daily and takes courage, strength, and energy. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters. They are professionals and workers of a trade. They are fun and full of life. They are grateful. And they must choose everyday to live life to its fullest. They are also in recovery from substance abuse.
Recovery can include someone who has been sober for three months or thirty years. While there are multiple stages in the recovery process, there is one constant – the need for support. This support is an essential part of relapse prevention. Famed researcher, journalist, and author, Johann Hari, has completed extensive research on addiction and one of his conclusions was that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. The invisible ties between you and me, between each of us.
Please watch this brief video to understand more about the connection between recovery and relationships.
During the “Safer-at-Home” order, all of us have been cut off in some capacity from our clan, our tribe, our “persons” and are feeling it’s effects. Loneliness and isolation can settle in. Fear, anxiety and frustration overtakes us sometimes. Those in recovery may be feeling even more isolated than ever before. Without their support system they are at much more risk of relapse and falling into coping in an “old manner.” So, if you know and have a relationship/friendship with someone who is in recovery, reach out to them. Say “Hi” and see how they are doing. Drop a note in the mail to say hello and that you are thinking about them. Be still, be present and listen. Empathize and understand. The struggle is real. The battle is real. Victory is one day, one hour, and one minute at a time and when someone is in the trenches with us, we often feel comfort and not as alone. These small gifts can mean so much.
Additionally, here are some online resources for those in recovery and loved ones of those in recovery.
Al-Anon Family Groups https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/
Cocaine Anonymous https://www.ca-online.org/
Co-Dependents Anonymous https://coda.org/find-a-meeting/online-meetings/
Face it Together https://www.wefaceittogether.org/pricing
Families Anonymous https://www.familiesanonymous.org/meetings/virtual-meetings/
LifeRing Secular Recovery https://www.lifering.org/online-meeting-schedule
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) https://virtual-na.org/
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones https://palgroup.org/find-a-meeting/pal-telephone-meetings/
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids https://drugfree.org/article/online-support-community-for-parents-caregivers/
Recovery Dharma https://recoverydharma.online/
Young People in Recovery Chapters’ All Recovery Meetings http://youngpeopleinrecovery.org/virtual-event-schedule