For anyone in recovery, the Covid-19 crisis puts a huge strain on you and your recovery. Chances are, you are isolated, you can’t see your friends and family, you can’t connect with your congregation, and your contact with self-help and support groups will be limited. While it might seem like everyone has abandoned you, they haven’t. Everyone is still there, experiencing the same loneliness and frustration as you, and every one of us can still lean on and rely on God, even in this trying time.
It’s important to take steps to ensure your continued sobriety, to ground yourself in your faith, and to trust in God. With His Grace, you will find the strength to persevere, stay sober, and come out of quarantine healthy and happy.
Your social groups, counselors, therapists, friends, family, and congregation are still there. Reach out and connect to them. It’s important to maintain regular social contact, both for your sobriety and for your mental health. They may be harder to access, and it may not feel “the same” to reach out over a video or phone call, but the resources God gave you are still there. Isolation, stress, and worry put us at a greater risk of relapse, but God has given us social support, motivation, and tools to seek both at a distance.
Check your support groups for video and calling options. Many 12-Step groups have offered optional online versions for years. Many churches are moving small meetings and Sermons to video with livestreams and webinars. And, your friends and family will likely always be available to talk. Make sure you do so regularly.
The Covid-19 crisis has been life-changing for many of us. Our patterns have been disrupted, gyms closed, outings cancelled. It’s still important to keep up your routines. Your body is a temple, and honoring God means trusting in Him and in His outcomes and planning for coming out of quarantine. It also means doing the groundwork and using the resources God has made available to you.
God may have given you the resources to stay sober, but it is your responsibility to use them. If you’ve been to rehab, attended 12-step, or attended an outpatient treatment program, you already have the tools to stay sober, it’s important to use them. And, if you start to slip, it’s important to utilize those resources again by getting help and going back to rehab or therapy.
Many of us are mourning the loss of activities, social outings, and contact with friends. You may be mourning your opportunity to recover and to move back into your life. At the same time, there are many, many things to be grateful for.
Spend time every day reflecting and praying. What good things have happened? What are you grateful for? How has God blessed your life? What opportunities has He given you for change and improvement? If you’re uncomfortable thinking these things, say them aloud or write them in a journal.
Many people find that spending 30-60 minutes per day reflecting, in prayer helps them to focus, calm, and recognize the good that they have. Your practice and your pattern here may differ, but make sure that you set aside some time every day, such as before bed, to be grateful and to reflect with God.
Relapse doesn’t happen when you’re talking to friends, family, and counselors. It often happens when you start to isolate yourself, tell yourself that you don’t need help, and confine yourself to ego and pride. Relying on God means staying humble, trusting that He knows what’s best for you, and reaching out to ask for help when you need it. That means staying aware of your own mental state, recognizing when you are facing cravings, and recognizing when you are losing control.
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32
Relying on God means reaching out to seek help, it means trusting in the network he has given you, and it means actively building a network of people who can and will help.
You cannot and should not ever attempt to plan out every day or get caught up in how, when, and where you will stay sober. Over planning and analyzing every possible situation will only result in stress and the inevitable loss of control, which could lead to a relapse. It’s important to have a structured idea of how to respond to cravings, who to call when you need help, and what to do, but you must trust in God and take life one day at a time. You cannot know and cannot control what you will face tomorrow, or the day after. Trust that God will guide you through, and that you will have the resources you need to overcome at every step of the way. In the meantime, plan your behavior and reactions, decide how to respond to situations, and remember that planning as situations come up, rather than attempting to control every little thing.
If you’re struggling to stay sober, or have relapsed, it’s important to reach out. Rehabilitation treatment centers remain open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we offer a medically necessary service. Finding and attending a Christian based program will ensure that you have a congregation to guide you through the pandemic, without alcohol.
While treatment centers are open, most have safety protocols in place, including screening, quarantine, protective garments, and possibly social distancing. Attending rehab during the quarantine will not be the same as attending it at another time. However, you will still have full access to peers, to medically trained staff, and to regular 12-step groups, all held within a contained social circle who are regularly screened for Covid-19. While no solution is perfect, going to rehab is safer for you and for your community if you are slipping. A relapse now will put you at risk, will put the people you see at risk, and will increase your chances of risk-taking behavior that could impact your community and your long-term health. Most importantly, if you are struggling, there is help and you don’t have to struggle with addiction alone, even in a crisis.