Creating Community in Isolation

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Isolation is a dangerous prospect for most everyone in recovery, and being alone, disrupted from our daily routines, can have a negative impact on anyone. Yet, we don’t have to feel isolated even when we’ve been asked to self-isolate. Taking responsibility for creating the community we crave by reaching out can positively impact our lives in surprising ways.

Most of the world has been told to stay at home for their health and safety. For many of us in recovery, isolation like this can be scary. It is often something we’re even told to avoid. Most of our lives we have isolated and hidden from the world because of our addictions, our shame, guilt, and pain. Then we found a new life in recovery at Jaywalker Lodge and learned how to be part of a vital community. Now, in the midst of fear and confusion, we are being told to isolate – and it can be hard to go without that fellowship we so rely on.

The Dangers of Isolation

For most of our lives before recovery, we were forced into loneliness by addiction, shame, and fear. We couldn’t reach out or even be around most people. That isolation only drove us deeper into addiction and negative emotional cycles. Here in recovery at Jaywalker Lodge, we meet people who know that pain and loneliness – and when we come together on the road of happy destiny, we can finally share about our isolation and lonely times with people who really understand.

The fellowship we find here helps us all to be rid of loneliness and to learn how not to isolate. Loneliness is something everyone in recovery, and the rest of the world, can relate to. When we go to meetings and fellowship, we become each other’s solution to the isolation problem. We live and learn and grow as a community. Now is the time to seek that community even more fervently. And where we cannot find it, we must create it.

Strange Times, Strange Measures

The current state of the world has thrown us all for a curve. We can’t see our community or go to any of our regular meetings. We are growing lonely and isolated in sobriety, and that can be scary. What can we do to combat the negative effects of isolation that jeopardize our well-being? We must do what the program taught us – we must get to work. “When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that, I am responsible.”

Ways to Create Community

Our wall of sober friends is of vital importance in our life of recovery. It took us practice to integrate ourselves into our sober community. Now we have to re-group all over again. It is crucial in times like these that we keep up with our recovery community. We are told often to call our sponsors daily or weekly, but perhaps now is the time to go further.

We must, of course, continue to make our regular calls to a sponsor and our friends. Making the effort to reach out will help shake us out of the isolation blues and feelings of loneliness. We can still stay current with our step work, even if we can’t meet face-to-face. We can call or text our closest friends in recovery just to see how they are, and tell them what’s going on with us. We can still seek to be of service. Perhaps we’ll even discover brand new ways we’ve never been able to help out before.

We can’t leave the house, but we can still hit a meeting. We can join any number of recovery meetings online. Now can even be a great time to start a new meeting. There are many groups on social media looking for meetings or listing the ones that have started since the stay-at-home orders. We can always meet up with our friends online for a video chat. As hard and awkward as it can be to make the effort, we often find that the people we reach out to need that fellowship as much as we do.

The New Normal (For Now)

It may not sound like much, to make a phone call or attend a meeting online, but it can have a huge positive impact on negative mental spaces. Seeing the faces and hearing the voices of people we care about – and who care about us – can help us feel connected, loved, and happy. Even the smallest interactions with our community can really lift the spirits of all involved. We sometimes overlook the relationships we have in our lives – but in times when we’re forced apart, it becomes apparent how important they really are. One of the major areas of our lives addressed in recovery at Jaywalker Lodge is relationships. They are vital, amazing, and rewarding parts of life in recovery, and maybe the most important part of life in general. Even with things the way they are right now, we don’t have to remain deprived of fellowship.

Isolation can take its toll on our joy and mental health. It is especially important to stay involved, even when we don’t feel like it. We must rally when we can, attend regular meetings even if they’re new, reach out to our people, and continue working our steps. In times like these, it is so crucially important for us to make the effort to keep our balance and stay as close to normal as possible. We never know if our own life or someone else’s may be saved by something as simple and important as a phone call or an online meeting.

So much of the world is isolated right now, and so many people are too disrupted or depressed to reach out. We must take responsibility to be the ones who brighten up these strange times. We should also remember those who aren’t yet part of a close-knit community. We are all in this together. We are all connected. Even in the days of a pandemic, our 12-Step program remains a lighthouse for all seeking safe harbor.

The world may seem lonely and separated these days, but there is a thriving community of recovering people out there just waiting for you to join them. Jaywalker Lodge can introduce you to that community and teach you the tools that can provide peace and togetherness in even the strangest of times. Call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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