Maryland Addiction Recovery Center Primary Therapist Kimberly Bonsiero, LCSW-C, offers insightful tips and suggestions on how we can all stay socially distanced but spiritually connected during the ongoing coronavirus public health pandemic.

As we as individuals, families, communities, and states, but also as a country and a worldwide society, continue dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 global public health pandemic, it is important that we take steps to make sure that we are staying mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Most likely, it is possibly more important now than ever to stay connected, even while continuing to practice the act of social distancing for the health and safety of everyone else.

For many individuals living in recovery from addiction, they know the importance of connection. Their lives living as a person in recovery literally depends on connection- socially connected to others, emotionally connected, and spiritually connected to something greater than themselves. However, in this time of uncertainly, constant change, and the act of social distancing as a way of helping others and the greater collective, connection can be difficult. For everyone else not in recovery, the need for connection is also paramount for mental health, emotional balance, and spiritual fitness.

It is important to note that loneliness is distinct from solitude and that we maintain the capacity to connect with others during this time of social distancing. Research has demonstrated that connectedness during times of pandemics can help to offset or more adaptively manage feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. Here are some tips for remaining connected:

 

Reframe:

Reframe social distancing to physical distancing. Virtually reaching out to friends, family, faith-based communities and social organizations can strengthen your overall feelings of connection. Connecting with others will help to reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.

 

Volunteer

There continue to be plenty of opportunities to remain connected through volunteering. Look into virtual volunteering opportunities, contact the American Red Cross, adopt or foster an animal from your local shelter, or check-out your local government website for opportunities.

 

Get Creative

Have a virtual watch party with friends, stream a class, or host a virtual book club. Many people are getting together virtually for fitness or working out. Technology like FaceTime or the app Houseparty are great platforms for this. For many working professionals, they have moved to Zoom meetings.

 

Practice Kindness, Compassion, and Empathy

Remember that we are all in this together and that nobody should struggle alone. Say an extra thank you to the essential workers, be it the healthcare workers, first responders, trash collectors, person delivering food to your house, or the grocery store employee. If you need to go out for essentials, see if there is someone that could use your help while there, like an elderly person or person with a disability. Go out of your way to check in on your friends and family.

Specifically, for those people suffering from addiction, substance use disorders, or that are in recovery, don’t stop reaching out.  Most treatment programs are still open, and many programs that offer PHP, IOP, or outpatient services have moved to telehealth platforms. Most, if not all, of community-based mutual aid groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART Recovery meetings continue to meet, just virtually. Check your local resources for those groups. Keep connected to your sponsor or sober supports through technology. Seek connection spiritually through prayer, meditation, writing a journal, keeping a gratitude list, and finding other ways and outlets to express gratitude and thankfulness.

 

We will get through this together, just for the time being, while apart from each other.

If you or somebody that you know is in need of assistance, here are a few resources that can help.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at marylandaddictionrecovery.com.

Zach Snitzer is the Director of Business Development at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and is responsible for the business development, marketing, branding, public relations, communications, and social media strategies of the organization.