This March and April are arguably the most challenging months that people in recovery have faced in living history. Millions of people’s lives depend on constant contact with a mutual support network like Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.).
Being seen and seeing others reminds recovering individuals that they are not alone. Attending meetings is an outlet of accountability that keeps one on track toward continued progress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down; almost everything is different than a short time ago. Protecting your health and the well-being of others demands that we all “shelter in place,” practice social distancing, and use personal protective equipment (PPE).
We have no idea how long these protocols will continue. There are now 854,338 Americans infected with coronavirus; the nation is mourning the loss of 47,125 of our loved ones.
The restrictions imposed on the planet are stressful for each of us, but for those who rely on 12 Step meetings they are taking a nerve-racking toll. Countless people in recovery – regardless of their lengths of sobriety – are in a precarious position and must be more exacting than usual.
While some in-person meetings are still held across the country, people with pre-existing health conditions can’t risk exposure. A significant number of men and women in recovery fall into the above bracket. For such individuals, the internet and smartphones are the only access points to the recovery community.
Videoconferencing and teleconferencing are helpful, and we are lucky such tools exist. However, protracted in-person isolation takes a traumatic toll on a group of people whose program can be compromised by seclusion. Quarantine is stressful and frustrating; if the pressure builds up and isn’t released in a healthy way, the outcome could be a relapse.
Stress Awareness Month 2020
It’s both fitting and ironic that April happens to be Stress Awareness Month. April is always stressful because of taxes. Fortunately, the IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes to July 15th. While forking over your savings to the IRS is worrisome, it pales in comparison to the fear of contracting a deadly virus.
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992. The goal of the annual observance is to help people learn how to cope with stress in non-destructive ways. De-stressing is a target that each person in recovery must focus on, perhaps now more than ever.
Just shy of one year ago, a survey showed that Americans were among the most stressed-out people in the world. The Gallup 2019 Global Emotions Report indicated that in 2018 men and women in the United States reported feeling stress, anger, and worry at the highest levels in a decade.
What really stood out for the U.S. is the increase in the negative experiences,” Julie Ray, Gallup’s managing editor for world news, told The New York Times. “This was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the numbers head in this direction.”
Gallup asked survey participants about how they felt in the previous day:
- 55 percent of Americans reported experiencing stress during a lot of the day.
- 45 percent felt worried a lot.
- 22 percent – more than one in five – felt angry a lot.
Naturally, maintaining a positive attitude during this unprecedented event is no small hurdle. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to let the new normal of isolation jeopardize your program of recovery. There are many techniques for enhancing your positivity while sheltering in place.
Keeping Stress at Bay in Recovery
At PACE Recovery Center, we would like to remind you that a positive attitude changes everything (PACE). You have the power to maintain a positive outlook, even during a pandemic.
Your recovery must always come first; call your sponsor and peers in your “deep bench” of support regularly. Attend meetings via the internet. Read recovery related materials and find ways to have fun at home.
If you find yourself becoming overly stressed, try to silence your mind. Meditation is an effective way to bring yourself back to a state of serenity. Exercise is another means of combating anxiety, worries, and pressure.
Being cooped up will ultimately lead to feeling stir crazy. Get outside and take at least a 30-minute walk every day. If you don’t have physical limitations, then go for a bicycle ride or a jog. It’s worth noting that you don’t need to go to a gym to work out, nor do you require workout equipment at home. Pushups, sit-ups, and yoga can keep you physically fit and reduce your stress levels.
Any of the above suggestions can help you stay positive despite the pandemic. Staying positive will protect your recovery and keep your program intact until the storm passes.
Addiction Recovery Center for Men
One of the unfortunate byproducts of “stay at home” orders is that Americans are drinking and drugging at elevated rates. Moreover, these arduous past couples of months have impacted members of the recovery community significantly and led to many relapses.
If you relapsed, please get back on track before your situation worsens. It’s possible that you require professional assistance to get back on the road to lasting recovery. We invite adult males who are struggling with mental health and behavioral health problems like depression or addiction to contact us today.
PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific recovery programs and services for men. Please reach out to us today to learn more and begin the healing process. Our dedicated team of physicians, doctorate-level clinicians, and master-level therapists are following all COVID-19 protocols for protecting our clients.