- This pandemic will not last forever. Yes, the days are long and challenging but remember to keep it one day at a time. One minute at a time. This can be challenging, especially when you feel like you are isolated. It is a practiced behavior. Find something to get you through those minutes. Reach out to someone, take a shower or take a walk.
- Don't let go of your goals. Write down your goals for the day every morning and check them off your list every night (or move them to complete the next day). Putting our recovery in the forefront of our minds every day is important. Set small, simple daily goals for yourself like scheduling the doctor's appointment that you keep forgetting, food shopping, or checking in with a friend.
- Create a daily routine that might look similar to your old one. Set a time to get up and go to bed every day. Start your day as you would if you were going into the office. Take a shower, change out of your pajamas (yes, into jeans!), eat a well-balanced breakfast. Prep your meals and schedule your chores the night before. Schedule virtual meetings or groups that you would normally attend in person. Structure, structure, structure!
- Self-care or 'me time': Do something that YOU enjoy. This might include reading a leisure book, taking a safe walk, exercising, catching up on reality TV or taking a bath. Consider a new hobby or DIY project (a 'trend' these days); something that can put a smile on your face and allow you to focus on you.
- In-person support groups may not be an option, but there are many telehealth options right now, including 1:1 therapy, group therapy and anonymous meetings. If you were attending any of these before the pandemic, make sure you are continuing them now whether it be in a safe in-person format, social-distance option or virtually. If this is new to you, consider trying a virtual support group. You can even turn your screen off in the beginning until you feel comfortable.
- And remember, it's ok not to be ok (cue the Demi Lovato song in your head right now... anyone? Sorry, it MAY be stuck in your head right now and that's ok because the lyrics are on point!). Be compassionate with yourself and reach out to someone when you need to. This pandemic has not been easy on anyone. Everyone is experiencing some level of stress, anxiety and maybe even some depression. It becomes problematic when you start turning to substances to 'ease' these feelings. Being compassionate with yourself means letting yourself actually feel these emotions and know that there are better days ahead. Talking to someone about what you are going through can be very relieving. You are not alone and it can and WILL get better.
- If you are looking for someone to talk to or looking for a local meeting or group, please refer to the numbers below. And always, if you feel that you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
- Healing and Growth Counseling: (516) 406-8991
- AA Hotline: (516)292-3040
- NA Helpline: (516) 827-9500
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Long Island Crisis Center: 1-516-679-1111
- Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team (10am-11pm): 1-516-227-TALK (8255)
People in recovery from alcohol and drugs have been hit hard during the pandemic. The pandemic put a stop to most of our sobriety plans and threw our structured routines out the window. Recovery from substances teaches us to talk with others, attend meetings, keep busy, and to not isolate. Quarantine was a shell shock for all of us. We had to immediately stop the routine of our everyday lives and adopt and create a new routine that abided by the world's new rules. Immediately, social gatherings were put on hold. Thus, our groups and anonymous meetings were put on hold too. What do we do? The world turned to zoom. Some of us didn't mind the change to teletherapy or zoom meetings. But it's not for everyone. But it is also worth a shot. Here are a few important things to remember while you’re working your recovery during this pandemic: