Individuals around the globe are facing an unusual amount of stress and uncertainty with Coronavirus potentially lurking, invisible, on every surface. We have been asked to self-quarantine to keep ourselves and our communities healthy, and the isolation and financial strains that we are experiencing is taking a toll. For some, this toll will be greater than others. One population that will be particularly impacted by this epidemic is addicts and alcoholics. As a substance abuse treatment center this is a cause for concern, but there is hope.
While the disease of addiction is primed to thrive in the wake of the isolation and stress induced by stay-at-home orders, individuals working a strong program of recovery may be better equipped to handle these stressors than the average person. 12 step programs utilize spiritual principles as the backbone that provides structure and meaning to life in recovery. Individuals who are actively living the steps have learned to replace their old patterns of picking up their drug of choice when things get tough. They have learned, instead, how to be resilient in the face of adversity.
No matter who you are, whether you identify as an addict or not, the spiritual principles established through a 12 step recovery program may help you to navigate Coronavirus with more ease and grace. Below are some thoughts on how you can apply the spiritual tools to your struggles with COVID 19.
Chances are good that you are experiencing a fair amount of fear and uncertainty about your health, the economy, and the struggles inherent in being quarantined during a pandemic. How can you become more honest with yourself about how you are feeling? Can you express those emotions in healthy ways?
It is possible to cultivate hope about what the future will hold. We will not be in this situation forever. How can you build the spirit of hope in this time of change? Perhaps this is a time for you to dream and imagine what you would like life to look like after Cornonavirus. Perhaps this pandemic is a catalyst for your growth.
Building your faith is all about increasing your confidence through belief and trust. Perhaps you want to practice your faith through prayer or meditation. Or maybe you can look for ways to find greater faith in humanity and the way that our communities are coming together to get through the threat of COVID 19.
Many of us are working from home and living lives that are more isolated than normal. Living with integrity means that you continue to do the next right thing even though no one is watching. How can you practice integrity today?
The only way that we can stop the spread of the virus is through the willingness of the people. How can you make choices for the health and wellbeing of your community even when it is uncomfortable for you? Are you willing to do your part to follow the guidelines that are in place even when they seem like too much?
Now is a time when you might need to reach out for extra help. You may be facing financial challenges, childcare conflicts, or relationship upheaval. You may be struggling with loneliness because you live alone; or frustration and tension because you live with others. You may be craving your drug of choice. Who can you turn to for extra support?
Some say that love is the opposite of fear. Can you turn your concerns for yourself to an unselfish concern for someone else? We all need love and connection right now and any way that you can reach outside of yourself to love another, or to connect with your higher power, will help you to shift out of worry.
Practice healthy patterns and behaviors. Cultivate your discipline by showing up in your own life and utilize the tools that you have for self-care and healthy living. Without structure, it is easy to throw out your routine. What is one self-care practice that you can implement with regularity to help you find greater serenity?
Patience is key. While quarantine is hard, it is not going to last forever. How can you remain steadfast in the midst of the adversity that you may be experiencing right now? Seek to understand others and to practice patience with those who are wearing on your last nerve.
Developing awareness is about learning how to be vigilant in your observations of yourself and your surroundings. Many people are hurting right now. Can you build greater awareness of the people in your network so that you can reach out with support for those who are struggling?
How can you be of service to others? At a time when we are all somewhat isolated it can be easy to fall into a pattern of only thinking about yourself and your struggles. One of the fastest ways to feel better about your day is to find a way to help someone else. While this may seem tricky right now, here are some ideas to get you started:
-Write a kind letter to someone
-Loan a game you are not using to a neighbor who is stuck at home with kids
-If you’re living with others, do something special for them
-Call someone that you know is struggling
-Pick up groceries for an at-risk individual
The above is a basic overview of the spiritual principles of the 12 step program that individuals in recovery learn to live by. Embodying these concepts takes understanding, time, and practice. Now is a great time to start. If you are struggling with substance abuse, look for a 12 step meeting online and begin learning more. Or, if you need additional support, reach out to a program like Bridging the Gaps to find out how we can help.