How Can I Deal With Isolation?

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In these strange and unprecedented times, isolation is not only recommended but in some cases mandated or otherwise necessary. The health and safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and others currently require that we do as much isolating as possible. Though this is the safe and responsible thing to do for our physical health, it may not be so healthy for us mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Add to that the constant tornado of news, social unrest, and the alteration of everything from school to shopping to our favorite sports, and we suddenly have quite a lot to deal with. Isolation can be a potentially precarious situation, particularly for alcoholics, addicts, and people with mental and emotional health issues. So, how do we manage all these changes and keep our recovery healthy?

Keep Your Recovery Routine as Normal as Possible

With many meeting halls closing down and people unable or discouraged from meeting in groups, it can be hard to avoid feeling like we’re letting our recovery rhythm get out of sync. We have to think creatively about solutions here. If we are used to meeting with our sponsor once a week but now we can’t, we would still be best served by keeping that appointment. A phone call isn’t the same thing as a face-to-face meeting, but it’s better than skipping it. Doing our best to get as close to normal as we can while staying safe could mean the difference between weathering this phase of life well or risking our recovery. Talk by phone or schedule a video conference for the same time as your normal meeting with your sponsor. It’s not as important how we meet and talk and go over 12-Step work as it is that we keep doing it.

The same goes for regular meetings. Some may be meeting again in person with new social distancing rules, and that’s wonderful. But for regular meetings that aren’t, we can still attend them online. If they aren’t meeting online, we can reach out to the secretary and ask if we can help get that process going. If none of this is possible, it’s still a great idea to find a temporary replacement meeting that works with our schedule and attend regularly. Healthy routines can be comforting, and they may do more for our well-being than we recognize. We don’t have to find out the hard way and skip parts of our recovery only to find out how much we need them. Instead, we can avoid pain and discomfort by trying to keep things as normal as possible.

Fellowship works the same way. We can meet our recovery community online, in small socially distant groups, or make phone calls. It’s important that we don’t lose touch with our people — they may need a friend as much as we do these days. If we engage in any religious services or spiritual practices with other groups or communities, we can seek them out online where applicable or find appropriate temporary substitutes. We must put forth the effort to keep in fit spiritual condition during this time, so our recovery doesn’t suffer.

Up Your Game

Maintaining the best possible version of our normal recovery routines in this topsy-turvy world is vitally important, lest we risk our recovery. There are so many new issues and stressors to deal with during this time. We miss our people and our normal lives. Our favorite activities, hobbies, sports, and even our favorite foods may be interrupted. In some cases, we can’t even leave the house. This can all weigh negatively on our mental and emotional health, which calls for us to up our health and wellness game. Simply maintaining a new version of normal may not be enough. We may need to talk with our sponsor and recovery community more often than we used to, hit more meetings, and make the time to engage more frequently in 12-Step work. 

If turbulence increases, we need to increase the measures we take to maintain our growth and serenity as well. It may be the thing that helps us not only survive these times, but thrive in them. That’s a pretty great benefit of just doing a little more of the things we already do. But we may also have to get creative in this area of our lives. Maybe we aren’t big on exercise, but we are experiencing the negative impact that isolation can have on our mental health. Exercise and physical activity can work wonders on both our mental and physical health. Maybe we’ve never seen a therapist before, but we have more emotional stress. This could be the ideal time to find out if we can schedule an internet video therapy session. 

Try Something New

It’s very important for us to make the effort to improve our mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual health when there are so many new stressors and changes in our daily lives. Perhaps there is a new healthy habit that you can add to your life to improve how well you continue recovering and growing during this phase of life. Try a new hobby, watch a marathon of your favorite movies, FaceTime with long-distance friends and family, or start journaling — the sky’s the limit. When making an increased effort to avoid isolation and try new things, it’s also important that we be gentle with ourselves. Ease into it, but make an honest effort. You and your recovery are worth it.

Alcoholism and addiction can cause extreme isolation and aggravate existing mental or emotional health issues. Now the circumstances in our world are isolating us even more, creating extra stressors and putting us at greater risk. Jaywalker Lodge is here to help. If you or someone you know earnestly wants help but finds it difficult to maintain long-term recovery on their own, please reach out to us. It just might change your life.

Call Jaywalker Lodge today 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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