National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate people that substance use treatment and mental health services can help those with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders to be able to live a healthy and rewarding life. This observance also reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to a person’s overall health, that treatment is effective, prevention works, and most importantly people can recover.

It is important for those in recovery or seeking help for the first time to understand that alcohol/drug addiction is a disease, not a morale failing or a person lacking willpower. Addiction can’t be cured but it can be managed.

For those who are newly sober, or have been in recovery for a decade or more, choosing sobriety is a daily decision. One that requires personal awareness, thoughtful preparation and a strong support system. But with the current restrictions in place surrounding COVID-19, people in recovery are finding themselves feeling disconnected or alone as they maintain sobriety.

Connections with others are a tremendous source of support and strength for those in recovery. With some 12-step groups being moved online and social distancing guidelines being put into practice routines are interrupted, stress and anxiety increases and people are at greater risk for relapse. This can include personal, relationship, work, or financial stress. If you find yourself with thoughts of drinking or using other drugs, there are things you can do to reset your thinking:

  • Stay connected to your support network: Checking in with your sponsor, family and friends – as they can help you stay accountable.
  • Take advantage of online recovery resources: There are many free virtual groups that you can access from your smartphone or computer.
  • Be aware of your new triggers: Avoiding people and places that may lead to cravings and relapse may be easier during social distancing but spending more time alone can also be a trigger. Find safe ways to stay connected to people.
  • Practice mindfulness: Be present in the moment. Understand that this crisis will not last forever and you are not alone.
  • Embrace routines and healthy distractions: Simple routines can be very helpful. If you find yourself having thoughts of using, try redirecting your energy by engaging in healthy distractions like journaling or exercising.
  • Talk to a professional: It’s important that your therapist or doctor knows if you have relapsed or are unable to stop thinking about using. Many providers are offering virtual care and they can help you get back on track.
  • ASK FOR HELP!

It’s important to remember that your recovery must come first so that everything you love in life doesn't have to come last.

Submitted by: Tessa Anderson, Drug Court Coordinator

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