Members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) depend on in-person meetings to abstain from the use of alcohol and drugs.
However, due to the new social distancing mandates during the coronavirus pandemic, these in-person meetings have been suspended.
Many members of 12-step programs will be able to stay clean and sober by using other tools in their recovery toolkit.
But a large percentage of members are no doubt extremely vulnerable right now.
Regular meeting attendance is a key part of their recovery routine.
Additionally, the members that are taking big hits financially during this time of uncertainty will also be more at risk of relapse.
Some of the biggest relapse triggers for people in recovery are stress, financial worries, lack of in-person connection, loss of work, feeling uncertain and unsafe, lack of exercise, and poor diet.
Certainly, the Coronavirus pandemic is creating all of this and more for a large percentage of the U.S. population.
Many of the grocery stores are slim pickings for healthy foods.
The gyms are all closed.
Social distancing is mandated.
In-person 12-step meetings are not accessible.
And this is truly a recipe for relapse for many individuals that aren’t grounded in their recovery.
How To Stay Sober Without Going to Meetings
I haven’t been a member of AA in over 8 years, and I’ve never gone back to addiction despite this.
Many others have also ended their alcohol and drug addictions without 12-step programs.
However, I realize that everyone is different and that 12-step programs are probably the best option for some people.
Thus, what can these folks do to stay sober while they’re unable to attend meetings?
Here are some things to choose from to help a person stay sober without in-person meetings:
- Facebook recovery groups
- Online 12-step meetings
- FaceTiming or Skyping with your 12-step support system
- Calling your sponsor
- Calling your sponsees
- Hosting your own online 12-step meeting on Zoom or another type of software
- Creating an accountability group with others who want to stay sober
- Reading the Big Book
- Reading other addiction recovery books
- Reading self-help books
- Going for nature walks
- Listening to music
- Working the steps
- Tai chi
- Eating nutritious foods
- Getting plenty of quality sleep
- Focusing on gratitude
- Write out some new goals
- Workout at home or somewhere outside such as a park
- Bike riding
- Listen to an addiction recovery podcast
- Watch addiction recovery YouTube videos
- Play board games with your family
- Watch stand-up comedy on Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Prime
- Watch inspirational movies
- Find a new entertaining show you haven’t seen and binge-watch a few seasons
- Play the guitar or another instrument
- Do some art projects
- Focus on deep breathing
- Do guided meditations on YouTube
- Listen to binaural beats with headphones on
- Take supplements for addiction recovery
- Make a slideshow with old pictures and add music to it
- Call, email, or text your loved ones you haven’t spoken with in awhile
- Take a hot Epsom salt bath
- End your showers with freezing cold water
- Stretch out
- Clean and tidy up your home and automobile
- Get caught up on emails
- Watch documentaries
- Go for long mindfulness walks
- Ask yourself empowering questions
- Think of all the hard times you’ve gotten through in life before this
- Write a list of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome
- Keep your thoughts positive and know that this too shall pass
- Don’t make decisions based on how you’re feeling at the moment
- Do make decisions based on what’s in your best self-interest
Using Other Recovery Tools & Resources
Just because there are no in-person 12-step meetings right now, that isn’t an excuse to relapse back onto drugs and/or alcohol.
There are so many helpful recovery tools and resources that no one should feel alone and helpless during this social distancing mandate.
Please share this with anyone that you think would benefit from reading it.
Be safe, and I wish you the best during this difficult time.