People in recovery are only safer at home when they stay connected

It’s been three or four weeks since many of us have had any kind of normal public life. That means no 12 step meetings in person. No fellowship at Starbucks, no in-person celebrations of sober birthdays and anniversaries. Recovery is an achievement every day, but the cornerstone of recovery has been connecting with others since 12 Step programs began 80 years ago. How are people getting their connections now in Covid-19 lockdown? Since I first penned this article at the beginning of April, there have been some interesting outcomes for the recovery community and everyone else. People are becoming creative about all aspects of life, and even connecting more in surprising new ways. There are now many Online recovery groups making 12 step meetings possible at home.

And take us, at ROR, we’re all about survival and now have a whole section with 35 articles for Covid 19 self care. We’ve also started an interview series with the experts to help us cope in every area of our lives. Trauma expert Dr. Kate Truitt shows us how to relive PTSD symptoms at home.

ROR’s recovery marathon trainer, Leslie Gold, has launched the Wednesday virtual walking group. You can click below to join us. Some members last week just walked around the kitchen for a half hour. Some showed us the views from their walk. Leslie helped us understand the benefits of moving.

And we’re doing new fun quizzes and puzzles to keep you amused.

But here’s why it’s not safer at home for thousands of people

When you’ve spent 20 years in and out of recovery, you know that not everyone makes it. If you’re lucky, you can count on just one hand how many friends you’ve lost. Recovery is difficult; sobriety can be difficult; life is difficult when you struggle with depression or other mental health issues. The sad part is, it’s never the ones you expect who don’t make it. Someone I know committed suicide last week, and I’m still reeling from it. She was younger than me, prettier than me; she was sweet, and everyone liked her. One of the first friends I made when I moved to LA, we had commitments together in meetings for over a year. She was never anything but bright and helpful. These are the deaths that are confounding.

Then, a friend who is an addiction therapist told me over the weekend that one of her favorite patients overdosed. She was sad but had an even scarier affect we get when we’ve been around long enough. She seemed defeated and slightly desensitized. We lost another one, I know we both thought. Yesterday, I saw a post about another overdose. It took me another 24 hours to cry. The tears came this morning as I tried to focus on work and instead found myself six years back on my friend’s Facebook page. Were there clues? A broken heart? But, nothing obvious appeared.

We won’t ever know why my friend decided to end her life, as we’ll never know why a therapist’s patient picked up, or why another young man struggled.

What we can identify with right now is that recovery is very hard under safer at home orders, and that’s presupposing that you are safer at home. If you have an addict or abusive person in the house, you may not be safer at all. On a superficial and personal note, I’m not too fond of Zoom meetings and many others I’ve spoken to feel the same. Even worse, some meetings were hacked with porn, racism, and harassment. None of it feels safe right now. The meetings don’t feel secure and private, the connection isn’t the same, and many people are picking up. Those of us in recovery are not just battling the Corona Virus; we are battling isolation, triggers, loneliness, and God knows what else. We can’t see and hug our sober brothers and sisters, and it feels awful.

What do we hang on when there’s nothing to hang on? Hope, faith, and the knowledge that this too shall pass

I had a lot of tough times when I was young, and my father would regularly remind that me that, “this too shall pass.” When I entered 12-step programs, I heard it again. It’s a commonly-used slogan for us 12 -steppers. Then two months ago, I was doing an Oprah Deepak 21-day abundance challenge, and one day’s assignment included a parable that ended with the message, “This too shall pass.” The assignment that day was to share the parable with someone who needed to hear it. At the time, I shared it casually with a recovery friend because I couldn’t think of anyone in my close circle who was struggling.

Then the Corona Virus hit, and we all went under safer at home orders

Today, I share my father’s message when I could not see the light. It’s the same message held dear by the recovery community, and the one that Deepak and Oprah reminded me of a couple of months ago. This, too, shall pass. As we face the next few weeks that Trump has said will be “very tough,” our community will faces challenges on top of those challenges. When the grief sets in over our fallen soldiers, remember that things will get better. More than anything, if you feel lost, ask for help. We all matter, we all make up this universe and the world will not be better off without you or a sober you. We’re here with you every day, and you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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