Life in lockdown continues.
For weeks, many of us have been sitting at home, waiting out the semi-quarantine state into which we have settled. The stress has been overwhelming. An invisible monster has invaded every region of the globe. The more that scientists learn about this novel coronavirus, the scarier it gets. The stakes keep getting higher. While almost everyone has a fear of getting sick from the coronavirus or being affected by the economic slowdown, people who struggle with addiction have even more concerns.
In the beginning, we joked about it. The COVID-19 virus seemed like flu or cold that was far away, on the other side of the world. It didn’t seem like something that we could do anything about, and it was far from home. Our leaders assured us that it would not be our problem. Other exotic viral illnesses had been in the news before. The experts always handled the threats, and they went away. Yet, there were ominous signs that this was different.
Now, we find ourselves in a lockdown situation. No one is certain of when all of this will be over. We don’t even know if it will ever indeed be over. There are no clear answers. It seems as if news reporters and politicians are talking in circles. Meetings of all kinds have converted from in-person to online video meetings. These online meetings include everything from work meetings to doctor visits to addiction recovery group meetings.
Is a Zoom meeting just as spiritual?
If you attend meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, you have heard members state that the meeting is a spiritual event. There is something about the feeling that you get from being in a room of like-minded people who want to recover from addiction. Meetings start with a group prayer and end with members holding hands in a circle to say a final prayer together. While meeting online with video works well for school and work, something seems to get lost when it comes to recovery meetings. Still, these meetings can be an essential part of staying connected and not socially isolating yourself. When you are in the early days of recovery from addiction, it is crucial not to isolate if at all possible. Video meetings will help you to stay connected. In addition to AA and NA and other 12-step groups, there are non-12-step groups as well. These include Celebrate Recovery, LifeRing, and SMART Recovery. Dealing with addiction during lockdown is easier with online support in these recovery groups.
Telemedicine and Telepsychology meetings are here to stay.
Have you seen your doctor or therapist by video call yet? Telehealth is the wave of the future. Even before COVID-19, therapists were already seeing their patients over video calls. Doctors were also providing limited telemedicine services. Now, government officials have asked all doctors who can see patients over a video call to do so. Addiction treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, and psychotherapy sessions, are ideally suited for the realm of telemedicine. In addition to traditional psychotherapy, some psychologists have transitioned to coaching in addition to or instead of therapy. The belief is that moving forward and taking action to achieve success may be more therapeutic then dwelling on and unraveling the past. If you are home, struggling to recover from addiction, you may want to consider scheduling a telemedicine visit with your doctor to discuss medical treatment options. Also, you can set up online appointments with a psychologist and an addiction coach. Telehealth sessions can be used to treat addiction in coronavirus lockdown.
Improving technology will make online meetings better.
Why are online meetings not as satisfying as in-person meetings. It turns out there have been complaints from students and business people in addition to addiction recovery meeting attendees. Sessions over online video platforms, such as Zoom and others, can be fatiguing and feel less productive than live meetings. Experts in video conferencing technology believe that this is due to the poor quality of conferencing hardware and network conditions. Our brains are doing extra work to filter out the imperfections of poor video and audio. While we can put in some extra work at both ends of the connection to improve video call quality, as it becomes more of a necessity in everyday life, tech companies will rise to the challenge. We can expect to see significant improvements in online video conferencing that will improve our experience. Recovery meeting members may even begin to feel the spirituality coming back as the tech experience gets better and better. We can also expect to see the introduction of highly realistic virtual reality become a part of everyday life. In recent years, Facebook purchased the Oculus Rift company, which makes the highest quality virtual reality headsets and software. I believe that this high-end tech will become not only affordable and easy to use, but it will also become an essential part of our home technology for meeting with friends and family online. I would not be surprised if addiction recovery support meetings enter the virtual reality world within a year or two.
Here is what you should not do during the coronavirus lockdown.
Glamorizing alcohol and drinking during lockdown is not helpful. It’s bad enough that we see friends, family, and coworkers on social media, acting as if they are having the time of their lives, lounging around and drinking. You may feel enraged that you are stressed out, wondering what will happen to your job, how to get money, how to pay your bills, how not to drink alcohol or take drugs, and they are out there, partying and having a great time. Does seeing someone on Facebook or Instagram smiling with a “quarantini” in their hand, lounging around in a bathrobe, get you upset? Don’t let it get to you. It is not worth throwing away your recovery for a fake photo. There is nothing cool about drinking during coronavirus. I guarantee you that people who present themselves as having perfect lives on social media are not at all genuine. They have the same problems as you or worse. That drink in their hand is not that great. I promise you that the people in those pictures are also stressed out, not knowing where the world is going. Do not give in to drinking during lockdown. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs is never the answer. Going back into active addiction never solved any problem.
Here is what you can do during the lockdown.
If you want to outdo your social media friends who are posting smiling photos with alcohol, here is what you can do. Put down the phone or tablet and shut down the computer. Walk outside and take a walk around the block. If you have a backyard, go out and sit in a chair. Enjoy the sounds of nature or the city. Take a deep breath and enjoy the outdoors. Think about all of the things that are going well in your life. How far have you come from where you were? Don’t compare yourself or your life to social media. You are perfect the way you are, and you can enjoy being alive. When you get back inside, you still do not have to open up social media or news. You can work on reading or writing. Have you ever thought about writing a book? Now might be a great time to try it out. Don’t worry about making it great. Just start writing. Writing 300 words a day is easy. If you do that every day, you will have a book completed in no time. Don’t procrastinate because you want it to be perfect. Writing an imperfect book is an excellent practice. You may also want to start a blog or a video channel on YouTube. Creating new things is a great way to feel better about yourself. When you finish, you can sit back and admire what you have created. Something new now exists in the world that did not exist before you made it.
Netflix binging is not that bad.
While I would recommend that you get fresh air, exercise, and work on creative activities, there is nothing wrong with taking a break to watch a movie or show on TV. You can put together a delicious salad and sit down in front of your TV and enjoy an engaging show. While you may feel that watching television for hours is not a good use of your time, it is far better than obsessing over social media, or worse, over alcohol and drugs. So, while I don’t recommend watching TV all the time, you should not feel guilty about it either. You deserve to take a break and relax.
If you are tired, take a nap.
There is nothing wrong with getting sleep if you are tired. Living at home without leaving for days on end can be disorienting. You may find yourself losing track of the day and time. Many people have trouble getting to sleep on time and staying asleep. Please, allow yourself to take naps throughout the day if you feel tired. There is no need to feel guilty about taking naps. It is a healthy way to catch up on your sleep.
Eat healthy foods.
Many of us find that eating at home can be a problem during the lockdown. Finding ways to eat healthily during coronavirus lockdown are especially a problem for those of us who deal with stress by eating. There are a few ways to handle this. Choose healthier foods wherever possible. You can keep healthy snacking fruits and vegetables in the fridge at all times.
Additionally, granola bars and protein bars are a quick way to get a healthy bite that is filling. Do your best to stay away from the kitchen as much as possible. Performing your daily tasks in a room as far from the kitchen as possible can help to keep your snacking to a minimum. Stress eating, just like stress drinking, can be harmful to your health.
How can I slow down my lockdown drinking?
If you are currently drinking and you are looking for an excellent way to slow down and drink less, you may be interested in something called The Sinclair Method. Traditional alcohol treatment involves going to an inpatient detox facility where they can monitor and treat the effects of alcohol withdrawal. Is it a good idea, during the COVID-19 pandemic to be going to such a facility? For some people, detox and rehab are the best way to stop damaging your body with alcohol. If this is true for you, don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse to put off detox and rehab. For other people, The Sinclair Method, or TSM, may be a good option that involves reducing drinking over time rather than stopping suddenly. Doctors who have studied TSM claim that slowing alcohol over time is the safer way to quit. If you are wondering how this works, TSM is very simple to follow. First, you see a doctor who will prescribe naltrexone tablets. Then, you will take a pill each day that you are going to have an alcoholic drink. You take the pill one hour before. Then, you will restrict your intake to no more than one or two drinks per day. The effects of naltrexone make this relatively easy for many people.
Should I start a blog? What should I write?
A blog is like a public diary. Of course, you should not put stuff out there in public that you do not want other people to know. A blog is a special kind of website that you set up to allow you to write articles regularly. Most people use WordPress for their blog websites. Don’t let this overwhelm you. There are online services that make this process easy. The WordPress company has a website that allows you to quickly set up a blog without all of the administrative headaches. Once you have learned the basics of signing into your blog website and posting an article, it is now just a matter of writing something each week. Writing every day is even better. What should you write? You could write a gratitude list. Or, you could write about how you are overcoming obstacles in your life to motivate other people. A blog can be a way to practice writing and start a public writing hobby that can be motivational, entertaining, or informational to your readers. Blogs can also be a way to make a living. Many people have started small, personal blogs that grew and became popular. When a blog gets popular enough, it can make money by hosting ads. Don’t worry about your writing ability. Practice will make you better. And, there are some great tools out there to help you. For example, Grammarly is a free tool that will help to correct your spelling and grammar. If you are recovering from addiction or alcoholism, a blog is an excellent way to write down how you are feeling and what you are doing to deal with everyday life. It will be helpful to your readers and helpful to yourself when you look back to what you have written before.
You can make the best of coronavirus lockdown.
Being amid an unprecedented global pandemic is frightening. Yet, we are finding ways to adapt successfully. It is bringing the people of the world together in a common struggle. Don’t let people on social media get to you. If you are looking for social connections, look for recovery support meetings online and connect with people who can inspire you and motivate you to be successful in your recovery. You can make the best of the lockdown and come out of it free of alcohol and drugs and prepared to move forward with your life of freedom and fulfillment.