Sheltering-in-place has presented some unique challenges for people who are in recovery, who might rely on the routine, community, and the practice of attending face-to-face recovery meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous to help them stay sober. What's missing right now is the hugs, the handshaking and the experience of simply being together, but Interventionist Ken Seeley, who runs Ken Seeley Rehab shares, "You might have to isolate, but you don't have to be alone."
Ken shares, "Group therapy, one-on-one therapy and meetings - everything is being done on Zoom." You can attend your normal meetings online, or find a new one to attend.
More than 20 million Americans are battling a substance abuse problem. Right now, relapse rates are rising and alcohol sales are up 55%. Ken shares that 10 people left his rehab facility in the past two weeks. He says, "You can't talk logic to early recovery, and that's why there are so many relapses right now." Feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, loneliness and boredom are at an all-time high during the pandemic, which is a perfect recipe to lean on bad habits.
During the pandemic where we are faced with growing mortality rates every day, Ken shares, "No matter how healthy you are, the underlying anxiety is there." He himself has been sober for nearly 30 years, but he shares when he wakes up each morning, he has to work hard to combat the anxiety and the "bad things that are happening." He has the modalities that he knows works for him, but shares that, "No matter how healthy you are, [the anxiety] needs a release."
His rehab holds online 12-step meetings, counseling and coaching for those working to stay sober during this time. He shares that every day at 3PM there is an open meeting for anyone who has identified that they want help. You don't need to identify as an alcoholic or an addict. You could simply be struggling to find healthy ways to combat the anxiety of this time.
Ken shares that the daily struggle is remaining aware of the anxiety you are feeling, "And have to remember that it's not as devastating as the vibration is making you think it is." He thinks 12-step programs are a great way to stay ahead of the anxiety, and on top of it at all times.
Here are some tools you can use during this time:
- Attend virtual meetings
- Create a virtual accountability group
- Read program-related literature
- Practice meditation or prayer
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Maintain a "normal" schedule
- Get regular exercise and develop a good sleep routine
If you are trying to do this alone, don't. You can still create your community while you're at home.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.