Wednesday 8 April 2020

How to Deal with Early Recovery during the Pandemic

By Daniel Wittler

We are in the midst of a very difficult time. Covid-19 has taken away many of the luxuries we have in life and have taken for granted. Of course, many of these things are materialistic and possible to live without. There are certain groups of people that are being much more affected than most. I can’t tell you how many times a day I wonder how people in early recovery are doing while this is going on.

I think about myself in early recovery and there were days where the biggest thing I needed was to go to a meeting and talk to somebody about the giant funk I was in that day and what I could do about it. There is a lot of power in simply talking to one another in recovery. Someone in early recovery feeling trapped and stuck from the outside world is a terrifying thought.

Thankfully, with all of the advances of technology we are not truly alone. We are able to connect with our friends and family through internet/webcam services. Sure it’s not the same as being with someone in person but it sure is much better than being all alone! For those in early recovery, let’s go over some ways to still build your recovery.

Zoom / Skype meetings

A big trend has been online meetings for everyone stuck at home, I have even heard of IOP programs doing webcam meetings to keep everyone who is part of the program connected to each other and able to get therapy still. Let’s be real, the absolute worst for anyone in recovery, new or long-time, is to isolate and not talk to anybody. When we do that our minds begin to take over and things can get ugly quick. This is the last thing we want to happen.

The beauty of online meetings is that you can still hear a message of hope, and can also share the struggle of being stuck inside while trying to maintain your sobriety. Remember you are not the only person struggling in early recovery during this pandemic! Sometimes, sharing your struggle and hearing people relate to it really gives a great perspective and can help you get through the day.

Meditation / Affirmations

I am a big believer of starting your mornings with some type of ritual. For me personally, when I wake up, my head is filled up with a lot of negative thoughts. I don’t know what it is about sleep but my head becomes completely negative even after having a very positive day the day before.

For a long time in recovery I would just roll out of bed and head to work with little thought about getting in the right frame of mind. About a year ago I began waking up at least an hour and a half before work and practicing some things such as the following.

  • Meditation — It is very simple to get started, but hard to master. Meditation means just getting your mind still and quiet for a small amount of time. The effect is extremely powerful and benefits range from peace of mind to major inspiration.
  • Positive Affirmations — We can be our own worst enemies; sometimes it’s necessary to sit down and tell yourself what you like about yourself. Starting your morning by telling yourself what you like about yourself may sound silly, but it has a powerful effect.
  • Pen and Paper — There is a lot of power in pen and paper. Get an empty notebook and after meditating sit and write anything you are inspired to. I’ll take a few minutes to write stuff down every morning. Sometimes it’s affirmations, other times it’s my plan for the day. It can be anything that you feel like doing. It’s a simple and powerful tool; make it your own.

Find Your Gratitude

Gratitude does not come to most of us naturally, unfortunately. I am very prone to self-centered and negative thoughts. Once we get sober and develop some self-awareness, we must catch ourselves in that negative state of mind and pause. When you pause, think about what you are truly grateful for now that you are sober.

To be perfectly blunt, imagine how much harder it would be to continue your addiction during this whole pandemic crisis. The fact that you made the decision to get sober in an extremely troubling and scary time should be something that gives you a real boost. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for throughout the day, even if it’s the same handful of things. Reflecting on gratitude is like a shot of positivity every time we go over it.

Above all during this troubling time, remember that you are absolutely not alone. Do what you need to do and go that extra mile to strengthen your recovery. Whether it’s reaching out to people on the phone or online all day, developing a nice practice and ritual for yourself or simply focusing on what you are grateful for. Every new day sober should feel like a new victory, every tough moment you survive will strengthen your soul. You can do this.

About the Author

Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery and mental health advocate. He has been living with depression since he was a teenager and has found ways to live and thrive with it. Daniel is a regular contributor to Pax Riverbend.

Photo credit: Dustin Belt via Unsplash.


1 comment:

  1. I love Zoom meetings! They're something I only discovered thanks to this pandemic, and they make me feel so much more connected to the outside world.