Social distancing has dramatically affected the care and support many people have been receiving from recovery meetings. With these meetings being across the United States, many people are feeling lost. Online counseling is an option because it gives people in recovery the chance to connect with specialists who understand what their feeling and give them the mental and emotional support they need. Online addiction counseling is only via video conferencing, which is why it’s become highly successful during COVID-19.
Understanding the Effects of Social Distancing on Treatment
The population of people who are seeking treatment for addictions of drugs and alcohol is massive. These are perhaps on what is arguably one of the most vulnerable demographics in society during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people with addictions have underlying health risks making them more susceptible to the harsh effects of the virus. Others are under new stress and insurmountable anxiety that leads back to drug use. Regardless of the issue, now is the time for treatment.
Even with social distancing guidelines and an unknown financial future for many in society, there are still options to overcome this pandemic while making the most of recovery.
For anyone who is currently in recovery or seeking options, there are Non-profit organizations such as the Recovery Coaching Alliance offering free online counseling and help. When searching for resources, it’s essential to have a recovery coach to see you through these dire times.
Having Meetings with New Guidelines
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are just two of the many options for those with addictions to seek treatment and learn to live with their addictions. A life without substance abuse is fulfilled when the user learns coping skills and mechanisms to rid the addiction that is holding them back.
The ability to move on with a healthy and productive life, care for family, and progress in their goals and aspirations is the goal of most treatment institutions. In times of crisis, people need someone qualified to lean on for help and guide them through recovery.
The Coronavirus outbreak is not stopping gatherings that promote health and recovery. They may change, but they will continue to help people cope with their addictions.
How Meetings Help
Regardless of chemical dependence, meetings have been a solution for decades. Many people find it comforting to confide in others who also have addictions. People with addictions can learn to cope with past mistakes and traumas from others.
With a well-qualified counselor at the helm, guidance through recovery is offered. Having these types of programs available during the global health crisis that is happening is vital to the successful recovery of so many worthy individuals.
Meetings with Social Distancing
How can institutions host the much-needed recovery meetings with social distancing guidelines?
It may be easier now to attend meetings than before the Coronavirus outbreak. Many state agencies are shifting meetings from brick and mortar sites to online counseling and online substance abuse counseling. This makes resources more available and possible, more anonymous than before.
Offering online meetings do have benefits:
- Attendees can join the meeting from anywhere there is an internet connection
- It’s safer during the pandemic with less risk of exposure
- There is flexibility in timing
- Join the meeting from the safe comfort of your own home
- New members can join when they wouldn’t previously
Some groups may be hosting their meetings using web resources such as Zoom conference calling or Skype. These applications are easily downloaded on a smartphone or computer and allow those with addictions to participate in their weekly or daily meetings.
Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or you’re ready to begin your recovery, now is the time for you to attend meetings. It’s not only vital to your health and recovery, but it’s also a way to grasp the opportunity of state-funded and non-profit addiction resources finally.
The “New Way” of Meeting
For those who are still attending meetings in a physical presence, or for those who need to speak with someone in person, there are precautions to take. Protecting yourself from the virus is simple; it’s another step in your recovery.
The following practices are useful when gathering with others for recovery purposes:
- Do NOT shake hands or hold hands with others; this increases your own risk of exposure as well as others.
- Cleaning tables, chairs, and commonly touched surfaces ensure the virus is not transmitted to attendees from surfaces.
- Get a list of essential contacts; if social distancing guidelines tighten, it will be important everyone stays in touch.
- Using Social Media to create a private recovery group
- Creating a plan for dealing with things that may happen (for example: how to handle it if a family member gets sick or a member relapses).
Some places are still holding meetings as it’s allowed. As of now, it’s best to consider digital meetings on phones or computers. For those who are having in-person meetings, it’s a good idea to begin to prepare for a complete shutdown of these gatherings.
It’s also recommended to use proper hygiene which consists of:
- Handwashing with antibacterial soap and warm water regularly
- Avoid touching the face including the eyes, ears, and mouth
- Stay 6 feet away from another member
Many states and local governments have issued orders that ban more than ten people gathering. Hosts and organizers can consider smaller group meetings throughout the week rather than large ones. Overall, the safety of everyone is of utmost importance. Recovery is not easy, but it is essential to overcoming the Coronavirus pandemic and live a long, healthy, and productive life.
Going Beyond Meetings – Other Resources
Anyone who has been or currently is addicted to a harmful substance understands that loneliness and isolation exacerbate the overwhelming feelings to use. As the government implements stricter guidelines on human interaction (it is currently limited to those who live in a home together), it becomes more challenging to cope with inner demons and addiction.
Resources such as Recovery Coaching Alliance are available even when the meetings aren’t happening. Listening to podcasts or watching YouTube videos made by recovering addicts can be incredibly helpful in overcoming addiction.
Confiding in family members is a great way to get the help you need. Staying connected with supportive friends and family is vital to your success through recovery under normal circumstances. Before using, reach out to a friend or family member for help. Sometimes talking through your problems with a person you trust is just as productive as going to a meeting.
For those with dependence issues, it can be helpful to read survivor’s stories on the internet. Finding inspiration and strength through others is the purpose of recovery meetings, after all. Others may enjoy social media groups and following people who have recovered and are now using their past to inspire others.