Being in one the most populated cities (NYC) does not help when a virus is spreading as we are urged to stay home and not be around people, which is everything that we have been told NOT to do in recovery. Kudos to you if you have taken the plunge and decided to get clean and sober during this unfathomable time. You should really be proud. That takes an unbelievable amount of strength and courage. We truly are impressed and inspired. Normally, we would write an article offering tips and suggestions on how to build a great foundation in early recovery. Since we are currently living in unprecedented times, our heart really goes out to those who are newly sober. On March 17th, we wrote an article called “How to Stay Sober During the Pandemic.” This article was geared toward all in recovery- people who have some time and are new. We then decided to write this article specifically for newcomers or if you are trying to get sober during the quarantine. There are some similarities to our other article (link here). Here are some vital tips for the newcomer that will help you succeed at staying sober and achieve continuous sobriety during the pandemic.
This is a biggie! As everyone knows, the whole entire world is basically on lockdown. With that being said, people in recovery cannot attend their regular meetings and be in contact with their fellows. Thank goodness for Zoom meetings. I know they are not the same thing as a real meeting, but they are the closest thing to it right now. You can still hear the message of recovery, strength, and hope. Zoom meetings are also great because you can see and connect with sober people right in front of your computer. You can still share and find support with whatever it is you are feeling and going through. It is really important that you attend at least one zoom meeting a day as how you would attend a meeting in person. It’s good to get into a routine/habit, especially more so during these times.
Aside from Zoom meetings, it is important to be in contact with sober people throughout the day. Even though you cannot be with people, you can still talk to them. If you have any concerns, triggers, or any feeling of unease, you can still talk to your sponsor or any other sober person about whatever it is that you are specifically going through. You are not alone.
This is also a great time to catch up with family and friends. Everyone is doing the same thing-probably nothing. In most cases, your family cares about you, wants to know how you’re doing, and most importantly, wants you to stay sober. They want to hear from you! We are sure it will be good for you and your sobriety by connecting with your family.
Keep yourself in a Routine
We were always taught early on how important it is to keep a routine going in early recovery. Routines create patterns that will help keep you sober and accountable. Although we can’t go outside and do things at this time, we can still keep ourselves in check by following a set schedule. We suggest that you wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day so you can stay on a good sleeping schedule. Like we said before, a Zoom meeting throughout your day is critical so that you can hear the message of recovery. You can also fill your time by exercising. Whether it is from walking or running outside to watching an exercise video, it is important to get moving. Meditation to keep your mind at ease with all the uncertainty that is going on in the world. There are several guided meditation apps that you can download straight to your phone to help you meditate. Keeping a routine may be very difficult at this time given we do not have the resources and tools that we normally do, but the key is to try your best.
Pick up a new hobby/learn something new
What a great time to start a new project or learn a new skill. We think it is a really great idea to do something that you would normally not do. Learning a new hobby can help build your confidence. Whenever I have learned something new, I feel good and proud of myself. Even if you are doing something so simple, like sewing, exercising, cooking, learning a new language, journaling, or reading a book, you will feel excited, proud, and accomplished to whatever it is that you are doing.
DO NOT HALT
This is one of our favorite and most critical tips. If you are not familiar with the acronym HALT it stands for hungry angry lonely tired. In other words, HALT is an acronym that people in recovery use as a suggestion for newcomers that they should not become any of those things (hungry/angry/lonely/tired). When we are in a state of HALT, we are not thinking clearly and things do not seem right. HALT is just not a good place to be in. When we are sober we want to take care of ourselves the best that we can mentally, spiritually, and physically. When we are in HALT, we are not our best selves. To prevent relapse and triggers, it is so important to not let yourself get into this halt state by eating nutritious meals, getting plenty of rest, and talking to others about your feelings and emotions. You are not alone during this time and it is always okay to reach out for help!
Like we said before, if you are getting sober during a global pandemic, then hats off to you. You are building such a strong foundation for your recovery journey that you will never forgot. The truth is, if you want to stay sober, you will go to any length to do so no matter what is going on in the world. Although there are so many obstacles we are all dealing with right now, recovery has not stopped or shut down due to the pandemic and that is a wonderful thing. If you or a loved one needs support during this time, please feel free to reach out at Brandon@myrecoverynyc.com