While the pandemic has been an enormous challenge for many, some silver linings exist. For those getting sober, the year of no parties, sporting events, or packed bars has been a welcome reprieve. Those getting newly sober often worry about how to manage socializing with friends and family.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do at my cousin’s wedding.”
“What am I going to do when I go to the game?”
“I will feel out of place at the business dinner.”
These are common refrains from folks struggling to stay sober on a daily basis. Many have been thankful that it’s not been an issue all year long. These worries have been virtually non-existent for many people over the last year. Soaking up a year of sobriety without feeling socially awkward allows us to feel safe in sobriety first within ourselves.
Early recovery is a dramatic change for our bodies and minds; especially if the use was pervasive and routine. A silver lining is having been able to make that change in relative peace. People, places, and things that triggered substance or alcohol use have decreased. We are socially distancing and engaging in recovery at our own pace at home.
However, people in recovery are more isolated than ever. And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the pandemic has taken a particular toll on those in recovery with overdose rates up twenty percent from last year, according to the CDC. Stress, job loss, and diminished access to recovery resources have contributed to this statistic.
One downside, of course, has been the movement of many groups online. A benefit of community recovery groups is that we don’t feel isolated or alone in our addiction. Other people are struggling and getting better too. Although because groups have gone online, many more people are able to access them. Those who struggle with getting to a meeting for any number of reasons can easily access them from their homes.
There are so many online resources and ways to engage in recovery without leaving our homes. These include online meetings, podcasts, and literature. They can be amazing ways to keep recovery active during these challenging times.
As the pandemic winds down and we see the light at the end of the tunnel, the fears about how to engage in social events may be more present. Creeping in with subtle anxieties. The lessons of this time about how to engage in recovery in relative isolation can also be carried with us for any future times during sickness, travel, or a period when we are unable to access in-person recovery resources.