People in the US are facing a tough period of lockdown as we try to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. As state and county governments ban non-essential gatherings, we are expected to only leave the home for necessary things like groceries, picking up medication, and emergency medical services. But how does that work for recovering alcoholics and addicts who rely on high traffic meetings to stay clean and sober? Seeking ongoing fellowship for recovery is not considered a medical emergency, so most AA meetings have shut down temporarily as we adhere to mandated social distancing. For many, this creates an immediate danger of relapse due to long periods of isolation. But there are ways to access the support of fellowship while staying at home!
Virtual Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
You are not alone in sensing this danger of relapse. Mental health professionals of all disciplines are trying to reach out to their affected communities with effective alternatives to in-person support to keep them on the right track. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have elected to use virtual meetings to substitute for being close quarters in person.
These virtual meetings offer an easily accessible forum for getting the same support as in-person meetings. Treatment professionals highly recommend this as a solution to working on recovery during social isolation. But it’s not the only way to stay connected!
Staying in Touch Via Phone/Text During Social Distancing
Ideally recovering alcoholics already have a close relationship with their sponsors over the phone. But quarantine prompts us to check in even more frequently with them. And beyond that, many meetings have phone lists that, if you haven’t taken advantage of, other members (or your sponsor) may be able to share with you.
Even if it’s just reaching out to a few friends who are also in recovery, that short text or phone call could help someone else maintain their sobriety during this difficult time. You never know when someone is struggling with wanting to relapse when they’re cooped up by themselves. It’s worth checking in with friends of the fellowship daily so everyone feels less isolated and has someone to turn to if they’re bottling up any anxiety about staying clean and sober.
Consider Finding Help for Grocery Shopping
One more important piece of advice for essential trips: grocery shopping by yourself during quarantine gets dangerous with fully stocked liquor aisles. If possible, consider having a family member or housemate do the grocery shopping instead so you don’t risk the temptation of relapse. It may seem cumbersome, but it can mean the difference between relapse and a successful recovery through social distancing.
If you or a loved one is seeking help for a substance abuse problem, our addiction counselors are available 24/7 by phone: 855-737-7363