Closeness in This Time of Distance


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It’s far too easy to feel totally isolated and disconnected these days. Many of us have spent a long time separated from our loved ones, families, friends, and recovery community. We’ve been apart for a long time — and whether we’re in recovery or not, human beings are not meant to live in isolation. We are social creatures. We need closeness and togetherness. The society of our fellow man is a vital, necessary, and beautiful part of life. The list of benefits gleaned from spending time with other people and the incredible gifts that come from endeavoring to help those people is simply immense. It’s practically the key to a full and happy life, especially for those of us in recovery.

There have been some significant obstacles to experiencing closeness and community lately. Let’s take a look at some ways that we can still be close to our people and some of the upsides of seeking community safely.


Why We Need To Stay Close

It’s been said before, but it can’t be overstated: we can’t recover alone. We need each other to live life in recovery. We need a sponsor, we need our sponsees, we need meetings, and we need fellowship. We need someone to take our 12 Step work to and we need someone to talk about our lives with. Most importantly, we need people to be of service — if there’s no one around, we have no one to help. And the 12 Step literature tells us that our lives depend on the constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs. In fact, the very purpose of our program of recovery is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and our fellow human beings. That’s our purpose! Other people are necessary. So, we must find ways to stay close during this time of distance.

Of course, there are many other benefits that come from closeness with other people. Science has shown that something as simple as a hug can relieve symptoms of depression. Perhaps we can’t hold our loved ones close right now, but even seeing a friendly face or hearing a familiar voice can provide similar comfort. Science has also shown that human beings learn and process their thoughts during interaction with other human beings. In our lives in recovery, we’re always learning and growing. Part of how we understand the lessons and see our own growth is by having conversations with people we trust and are open with. Even something as seemingly simple as a conversation with a friend can be a huge part of our growth in recovery. Now that we know the importance of our closeness to others, let’s look at ways that we can do our part safely and effectively.


Meetings By Any Means

In times like these, we may not feel comfortable going to in-person meetings, or perhaps there are no in-person meetings to go to. Not many people prefer virtual meetings — but before this, how many of us were missing meetings because we just didn’t want to go? That’s the real issue. Meetings and fellowship are a vital part of recovery, and they’re necessary for a healthy recovery. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our meeting attendance. Maybe we can’t go to the meetings we’d prefer, or maybe we just don’t feel up to a meeting. We can feel however we want, as long as we attend regular meetings anyway. Virtual meetings will have to do for now, because we can’t really have a vital life in recovery unless we are attending at least a few meetings regularly every week. Showing up at the same time and place, even if it’s virtual, makes us part of a community and helps us stay close to those who know us. If we’re present in this way, we stand a better chance of both giving and receiving the crucial service that makes our lives in recovery so amazing.


Reaching Out

Pretty much everybody is going through a whole lot right now. Turmoil has been a constant for quite some time. So it will likely be up to us to take the initiative and make the first contact. It’s so easy to isolate ourselves in recovery, but that is dangerous old behavior and will only put our recovery at risk. We’ve got to pick up the phone or fire up the computer and start a virtual group hangout. We’ve got to do something to bring our community together when we’re all so distant. It’s up to us to do our part.

We likely aren’t the only ones suffering from this separation, isolation, and disruption. That’s why we have to reach out. Sure, it will help our recovery and relieve our feelings of separation — but more importantly, we may help somebody else feel better and less alone. And there’s nothing better for our recovery than being of service to others! There are many unique and creative ways to get close when there is distance, even just a phone call to ask how they’re doing. No gesture is too small, and even the littlest things can have a huge positive impact.

At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe in the power of community. We know that we can’t recover without each other —  we simply need one another on this journey. In fact, what would our lives really be without other people? Closeness, community, sharing, and helping each other are the things that make life so full and beautiful. That’s why we keep the 12-Step program of recovery as our foundation at Jaywalker Lodge. We work the 12-Steps, we get busy being of service, and we go to meetings and fellowship. We take our community very seriously and we stay close. We share our lives with each other, we give back together, and we lift each other up. That’s probably why so many who come to Jaywalker Lodge end up staying nearby, so they can continue to be involved in the unique, close-knit, vibrant recovery community that has sprung up around us. If you’re ready to become part of something wonderful, call Jaywalker Lodge 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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