For an addict or an alcoholic, getting sober is a monumental task. When you throw in the challenges associated with life in a pandemic, this task can seem impossible.
The opposite of addiction
I've heard it said that the opposite of addiction is connection. This is true for so many because the disease of addiction separates us from other people. Some folks in recovery will tell you that the disease wants you alone so it can work on us without interference. I know from personal experience that when I was in my addiction, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was to connect with any other person. I avoided contact at all cost. Connecting, and talking with people put my solution in jeopardy. It put my drinking at risk so I hid. I avoided talking to anyone about my problem until it became so big and so painful that I needed to make a change if I wanted to stay alive.
Fortunately for me, when I hit that painful point in my life, I had made contact with a member of a twelve step program several months earlier and he reached out to me miraculously at the same time I hit bottom. We met for coffee and I learned from him how he managed to get and stay sober.
Now, however, in the pandemic, these types of connections are complicated but not impossible.
There is a solution
The good news is that there are resources available to help those that truly want to get sober even in a pandemic.
In fact, in many ways, the resources available today during the pandemic are astonishingly easy to access. Simply turn on your computer, open a search engine and search for recovery meetings. There are many. I know because I help to maintain a web site that makes a database of these meetings available.
Additionally, there's a phenomenal mobile app available that makes finding a meeting incredibly easy.
Meetings are not the only solution to the complicated problem of getting, and maintaining sobriety in a pandemic but what I find is that when I get to meetings, I connect to other sober individuals and there, I can learn how they face the challenges of this sometimes difficult existence without having to drink, or drug.
Here are some recommendations for you if you're trying to get sober during this pandemic.
Don't pick up.
Genius, I know. But the fact of that matter is that you can't get drunk if you don't pick up a drink. Working out the how of that is the difficult part. If you're still with me, read on to learn how to go about that.
Get to a meeting
I couldn't do it alone. I needed help and chances are if you're still with me, you do too. If you haven't attended a twelve step meeting you may have all sorts of preconceived notions about what happens at one. Lay those aside for a moment and attend 5 meetings before you cast your judgement.
I'd be willing to bet there's an online meeting of AA happening RIGHT NOW. In my area, there are over 1700 of them that happen each and every week. They happen at all hours of the day, and night.
It's not enough to "just go to meetings." Getting to a meeting means nothing if you just sit there. I recommend participating in the meeting. Usually, with online meetings that means raising your digital hand and letting people know who you are (first name only) and that you're struggling.
Speaking of digital hands...
Meetings online are typically run using online, web-conferencing software. Zoom is a popular one. If you're not a technophile, don't worry. It can be as easy as dialing your mobile phone. Most meetings are accessible by an app, as well as by telephone.
You will need the meeting telephone number, the meeting ID, and a Password to access the meeting if you're going to attend by telephone rather than the app. Make sure you have these details in front of you when you attempt to dial in.
In fact, if you're interested, I attend a meeting every single day (weekdays 7:15 AM ET, Saturday 8:00 AM ET (Men), 9:30 AM ET Women, Sunday 8:00 ET)
To access that meeting you can use the following:
- Attending via Zoom App: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/901964988?pwd=QkhEY1FFOUF2b1AzMmRwZ0VtejdVQT09
- Attending via Telephone:
Meeting ID: 901 964 988
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,901964988#,,,,*417417# US (Washington D.C)
+13126266799,,901964988#,,,,*417417# US (Chicago)
- Dial by your location
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Meeting ID: 901 964 988
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kmkq5TGw7
Get a higher power
"Oh great. Here you goes with the God bullshit." you might be saying. I know because I said the same thing. Relax. You don't have to believe in anything you don't believe in. There's no requirement to subscribe to any religious bullshit. You must, however find a way to stay sober... and I'm guessing that you've tried this with all of your might, or willpower previously and failed. Again, I know because I did too. What I learned from someone that got sober before me was that I was unable to do this on my own because the problem lives in my head... in my brain; my thinking. Therefore, for me to think I could think my way out of the problem was a form of insanity. So, I needed to find some power outside my own brain that could help me. I struggled with this for a while but finally I began to create a conception of a higher power that actually loved me and wanted me to get sober and stay alive. Once I did that, things seemed to lighten up and it wasn't so hard.
This concept applies pre- and post- pandemic. If you're still struggling with it, take it easy. The only test is the one you've got going on right now in your mind. Quit the debate and try some of these suggestions.
One more thing you may want to try in addition to the above suggestions is to listen to the Daily Reflection Podcast. It's a daily show where I deliver messages of inspiration and have interviews with members of the recovery community.
I hope you found this helpful. Reach out if you need to talk to someone, I'm always happy to hear from folks.