Reemerging From Lockdown
In most places around the world, things are slowly, and sometimes quickly, beginning to return to some version of “normal.” As the new “business as usual” begins to settle in, many of us are experiencing a kind of system shock, after such a dramatic, chaotic, and isolated period of time. There is much to consider and discuss when it comes to safeguarding our mental health and recovery as things begin to change once again. Even though much appears to be shifting “back to the way things were,” it can be an extremely difficult transition to make because of how different things have been in the recent past.
We all want to keep up with the changing times, but this can be exceptionally difficult for those of us in recovery from alcoholism and addiction, especially if we have mental and emotional health issues to take into consideration, as well. We need to remain adaptable, but in doing so we need to take the best possible care of ourselves and our conditions. This can make rolling with the punches seem like an overly complicated affair. We want to take the complication out of the equation as much as possible. Let’s look at some helpful things to keep in mind as we reemerge from lockdown.
Life on Life’s Terms
The pace at which our lives move is often not up to us. This is so often the case, it has become a common saying in recovery that we seek to learn how to “live life on life’s terms.” This is an important goal that once begun, brings with it a certain amount of peace and freedom. Learning to live life on life’s terms begins with acceptance. We could not control the lockdown, its terms, or how long it lasted. However, we were able to endure. The harder we resisted the reality of it, the more likely we were to be unsuccessful and in low spirits. Just the same, we cannot control the return to some shade of normalcy that is happening now. It is not up to us how fast or slow things reopen. The more we struggle to resist the changing of life on life’s own terms, the harder it will be for us.
Acceptance is the key that we need to live life on life’s terms. We can begin the process of coming to acceptance by acknowledging what we can and can’t control at any given time. We cannot control the rate at which the world opens back up, but we can control how we respond. We can control the rate at which we open ourselves and our lives back up.
Go at Your Own Pace
That being said, we must take responsibility for how we adapt to life on life’s terms. We must take responsibility for reemerging from lockdown at the pace which is best and healthiest for ourselves. Changes are inevitable, and adaptation takes time. We would be best served by taking conscious responsibility for how we adapt. We can sit down with our sponsor, our higher power, and our recovery community and make a literal plan for getting back to business as usual. We must go at our own pace, but we must be honest and educated about that pacing.
Perhaps we didn’t like online meetings and rarely went, or perhaps we liked them too much and are nervous about the return to in-person recovery meetings. Or maybe we can’t wait to go back to all the in-person meetings! Whatever our position, we would be best served to sit down and really take an honest look at ourselves and the position we are in. If we’re eager to get back, we may over-commit and burn ourselves out. If we haven’t been to a meeting in months, we may want to use the buddy system and join some friends at their regular meetings. If we preferred online meetings, we still have to face a new reality again and get ourselves back to meetings one way or another. This can all be achieved with honest inventory and healthy planning. Those are best done with the guidance of our sponsor and our higher power.
Keep Your Priorities in Order
Wherever we are in our journey to acceptance and our reemergence planning, we must do our level best to keep our priorities in order. We may be hesitant about coming out of lockdown, or we may be impatient, hardly able to wait to get back out there. Either way, we need to keep our health as the number one priority. Not health as in “eat your vegetables,” but the health of our recovery, as well as our mental and emotional states. Our recovery must come first — we must maintain the health and safety of recovery. This means we must remain actively engaged in the Twelve Steps by whatever means necessary. It also means we must continue to participate in all of our normal mental and emotional health routines. If we don’t maintain our baselines, we make adapting to changes that much harder.
Don’t Take On Too Much at Once
While we maintain our baselines and make our reemergence plans, we want to be careful not to take on too much at once. Likewise, we must also make sure not to take on too little. Doing too much is just as harmful as not doing enough. Getting started by going to nine in-person meetings a week may overload our system, whereas going to only one in-person meeting a month may put our recovery in jeopardy. We want to aim for balance as we walk the road of acceptance, adaptation, and recovery.
As things return to the “new normal,” it may just be the perfect time to look at what “normal” really looks like. Jaywalker Lodge believes that if we take time to consider this thought-provoking question and build a healthy, sensible plan for return, we may just be able to make the new normal better than the old normal ever was. For those of us who suffer from alcoholism or addiction, as well as mental and emotional health issues, this can be a time filled with opportunity. It can also be a stressful time. That’s where a 12-Step program comes in. Using the Twelve Steps as the basis for our new lives, we have found success, joy, purpose, love, and abundance. These things are what recovery is all about, and it is available to anyone willing to do the work. If you’re ready, Jaywalker Lodge is here to help. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.