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How to Stay Sober While Social Distancing

by Landmark Recovery

April 7, 2020
How to Stay Sober While Social Distancing

If you’re struggling with a substance or alcohol use disorder, you can still find strategies on how to stay sober while social distancing using online resources.

Calls to Indiana’s addiction hotline have surged from twenty calls a week to twenty calls a day. At Governor Eric Holcomb’s press release, Dr Jennifer Sullivan (the Family and Social Services Administration Secretary) pointed out how easy it is to become “disconnected” with the social distancing rules currently in place.

While remaining indoor around the clock is already challenging enough, anyone with an addiction needs to adjust more than usual.


What strategies can you put in place to prevent relapse while social distancing?

Be Aware of the Signs of Relapse

Signs of Relapse

A relapse doesn’t start when you take a drink or a hit.

The path to relapse typically begins when a stressful life event triggers a cascade of negative thoughts and goes in three stages:

  • Emotional relapse
  • Mental relapse
  • Physical relapse

You won’t be actively thinking about using during the emotional relapse stage but your emotions, behavior, and self-care are pointing toward relapse. Denial is commonplace at this early stage.

During the mental relapse stage, you’ll be fighting an internal war. Part of you wants to drink or use drugs, the other desperately wants to avoid that.

Physical relapse occurs when you start drinking or using drugs again.

Recovery aims to keep these negative thought processes from gaining traction. Preventing those whirring thoughts escalating to the point of a mental relapse removes the chance of physical relapse.

Social connection and peer support are vital to maintaining a positive outlook when negative thoughts arise so what can you do as COVID-19 keeps us hunkered down at home?

Well, there’s absolutely no need to go without emotional support as resources have now moved online. OK, you might not be able to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with someone, but help is available 24 hours a day.

Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous Online Meetings

Peer group support is vital when you feel you might relapse. Encouragement from peers who have successfully abstained from drinking or using over the long-term can be a powerful incentive to stay sober.

To continue providing support to those with alcohol or substance use disorder, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous have moved meetings online. Now, anyone in recovery can get support at any time of the day.

Online sessions help to remind you of the reasons why you stopped drinking or using drugs in the first place. It also reminds you of what will happen if you start again and the consequences of doing so in the future.

Meetings are now held on digital platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom. All you need is an internet connection from WiFi or your mobile data.

You can find instant online support from others in recovery by joining an online AA meeting here.

Access Support from Sober Grid App

Access Support from Sober Grid App

This new app is a free service that provides access to support from certified peer coaches 24/7. The app is available to both Apple and Android users. To become certified, peer coaches must have been in successful recovery for a prolonged period.

Most sober apps just help you to track your progress. The Sober Grid app, on the other hand, is more like a social media network for people in recovery.

You can access support and download the app immediately here.

SMART Recovery

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people recover from addictions. Their approach to recovery covers four main points:

  • Building resolve to stop addictive behavior
  • Managing urges
  • Managing emotions without turning to addictions
  • Developing a positive lifestyle

Details of online meetings can be found here.

In The Rooms

A woman joining an online recovery meeting

In The Rooms hold 130 weekly online meetings to support those in recovery. The website is also rich in valuable content related to recovery. You’ll find an abundance of inspiring information to read through. If you ever start to struggle, this site has plenty of motivational content, too.

Women of Sobriety

As the name suggests, this online support group is dedicated to supporting women who are recovering from alcohol or drug withdrawal.

The organization is backed by a strong camaraderie of mutual support. Women who need emotional support with their addiction can benefit greatly from this group. Support can be found in their online community here.

Listen To Inspiring Stories of Recovery

A woman listening to an inspiring recovery story in headphones

Just listening to others share their stories of successful recovery can give you hope and inspiration. Hearing stories from others whose situations were much worse can put your own life into perspective.

There are many articles and stories of inspiration at Recovery Speakers. Staying home alone is a great opportunity to listen to the methods people have used to stay strong in recovery. Listening to people speaking from a positive, loving standpoint will have a positive impact on your mindset.

These are just a few suggestions of online support possibilities. You can find more here.

Practice Self-Care

Improve your physical health. Get outside in the fresh air if possible. Eat delicious nutritious meals and drink plenty of water.

See your recovery journey as an opportunity to improve your physical and mental health. Use the time to relax and rejuvenate your body. Fill it with nutrients and positivity.

Read books that encourage you to think positively. Authors like Eckhart Tolle, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Osho can also help you to make sense of stress and anxiety.

Slow down and approach your activities with intention. Engage in some deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Meditation is powerful. It’s possible to completely transform a stressed mind to a completely calm mental state.

The website freemindfulness.org is full of various mindful exercises that you can do to help improve your state of mind.

What To Do Next

Your community needs you to stay committed to your recovery.

You might initially feel that your recovery is more difficult without social contact but you must remember that you are not forgotten. Indeed, there are many people waiting to help you. The resources are there. Use them and stay connected to your higher power as you see it.

If you need any further help to stay sober, call us at Landmark Recovery today on 888-448-0302.


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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.