The coronavirus outbreak raises tension for recovering alcoholics. Stay on the road to recovery with these tips for staying sober during difficult times.
With all that’s going on in the world, it can be hard to stay optimistic and on the road to recovery. People are stuck inside, unable to make it to AA meetings or surround themselves with the supportive community they need to stay sober. If you or someone you know is struggling with this, we hope to help. Here are a few tips for staying sober during difficult times. From staying connected digitally to finding calm in proactive ways, these tips can help ease the urge to reach for the bottle.
Get AA Online
With the necessity of social distancing during the coronavirus, AA meetings around the nation have stopped running. This creates quite the problem for members of Alcoholics Anonymous, where in-person meetings are a cornerstone of the program. But just because you can’t meet in-person, that doesn’t mean people can’t receive the support they need. More and more groups are going virtual with their meetings, using Zoom or Google Hangouts to keep their networks stable. People can also email, chat, post in forums, and more with aa-intergroup.
HALT makes up one of the twelve AA practices and stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These four things are often triggers for an alcoholic’s urge to drink, and HALT helps recovering alcoholics overcome those habits. It urges you to reflect on these physical and emotional sensations and figure out ways to control them in order to stay sober.
For example, when it comes to anger, your first step should be to process it. Once you process anger you can communicate it and figure out the best ways to move through that feeling rather than letting it control you. HALT urges you to reflect on this anger and then take the steps to control it. Similarly, combat hunger by choosing foods that truly nourish you—incorporating green vegetables, fish, and whole grains into your diet help to combat the urge to drink.
Staying active is more difficult with gyms closed, but that doesn’t make it impossible. Since a lot of people are stuck inside, fitness trainers and the like are consistently posting at-home workouts online so that everyone can keep moving. If you have an overwhelming urge to drink, it may also be a good idea to get out of the house—take a walk. Clear your mind with some fresh air and then set your expectations for when you get back home.
Tune Out Social Media
Social media is a trigger for a lot of people. When we’re stuck at home like this, it’s easy to constantly be online and checking different apps. But when you do this, you open yourself up to the chance of more negativity and less support. If you notice that every post you scroll past is negative, doesn’t help ease tension, and pushes you closer to the bottle, then it’s time to unplug. Step away, cook a meal, read a book, take a walk—make the conscious choice to include positivity.