You can get sober during COVID-19

David Heitz

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If you’re one of those people who is putting off getting sober until COVID-19 restrictions end, don’t.

Just because you can’t meet in church basements during COVID-19 doesn’t mean sobriety networking stops. While it’s true that attending meetings is a hallmark of recovery, connecting with other sober people online is the next best thing.

Online sobriety resources help those in recovery stay on the right path during COVID-19.

Online recovery support lacks the intimacy of in-person meetings, but there are perks. During virtual meetings you get to meet people outside your town. New friendships and even sponsorships can be made (yes, virtual sponsorships work, too).

Online recovery support comes in different forms. In addition to vast web resources, sober apps also keep those in recovery connected.

Online support groups are the new “rooms.” Virtual meetings usually stick to the same format used in live 12-step meetings.

Here are some other online resources to help you stay sober during COVID-19.

Consider online therapy

Many sites specialize in affordable online counseling. Many private practitioners are offering online services now, too.

You can never get too much therapy, so the saying goes. Consider online therapy to augment in-person counseling sessions you might have.

In the absence of one-on-one side conversations at in-person meetings, talking to someone to decompress regularly becomes even more important.

Watch funny cat videos, dance in the dark

Do whatever you need to do to get out of self if you are triggered to use. Watch funny cat videos. Go play with your dog if you have one. Take a walk around the block.

Put on some music and dance alone in the dark. Do whatever you need to do to get through moments of weakness.

Sometimes the period after summer or the holidays can feel a little dull. Some people are triggered to use by boredom.

Make sure if you are one of those people that you have a “safety plan” for when you get the urge. Maybe there’s a movie you have lined up to watch instead for when that urge hits.

Plan service work

Volunteer to do service work that can be done anytime. That way, if you become triggered to use, you have something else to do.

Maybe a local church needs brush removed. Perhaps a newsletter needs written. Take on a project that you can do any time and do it instead of using.

Exercise away triggers

Some people exercise when they feel the urge to use. You can go for a walk, run or jump rope. You can do push-ups or sit-ups.

You can drop to the floor and exercise anytime, anywhere. It’s a great coping tool for triggers.

Sobriety websites

When you feel triggered to use, help is just a few clicks away. Today’s addiction and recovery websites have lots of bells and whistles. You can find meetings in various electronic formats on some of the websites listed below.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Both sites offer vast resources and meeting locations for when COVID lifts. The NA site offers a listing of virtual meetings.

In the Rooms. This site offers a directory of online meetings. It also has a blog and other resources.

SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is a science-based addiction treatment plan. The basic tenet is meeting-based support that’s an alternative to the 12 steps. You can find online meetings on the site.

LifeRing. LifeRing emphasizes sobriety from a secular standpoint. That means religion is not involved. Online meetings are available.

Women for Sobriety. This site is dedicated to helping women recover. Many women do not feel comfortable attending co-ed recovery meetings. Online meetings are available.

Cocaine Anonymous Online. This site connects people worldwide battling cocaine addiction. Online support groups exist via email and voice-only calls.

Sobriety apps

Lots of apps exist these days to help people stay sober. Here are a few of the best.

Sober Grid. This app brings a huge online support community to your fingertips. Peer counseling thrives on this platform.

Connections. This app does it all, from helping you track your sobriety to connecting you with peer support. Addiction policy forum counselors also are available.

Everything on the app is evidence based. That means research backs up what you’re reading.

I am Sober. A popular mainstay among sober apps.

Sites for supporters of people in recovery

If you’re the loved one of someone in recovery, you have needs too. Here are online resources to help you.

Nar-Anon. Site offers live chat for people affected by the addiction of others.

Al-Anon. This is the twelve steps for those who live with someone battling addiction. Online and phone meetings are available.

Families Anonymous. Online 12-step meetings for those who have a loved one battling drugs, alcohol, or mental health problems.

SMART Recovery Friends and Family. An extension of the science-based treatment plan, but for the loved ones of those battling addiction.

Call your sponsor

Hopefully, you have a sponsor who is available for you when you need him. Even if you choose to become sober in a way other than a 12-step program, you should have a sober buddy or coach. This is someone who has experience in sobriety and knows how to navigate triggers.

This person serves as a mentor. You don’t have to call him a sponsor. But he needs to be someone you trust and respect.

If you don’t have a sponsor, find one. Even a virtual sponsor online is better than none.

Not having a sober partner is dangerous. Remaining sober is difficult, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Triggers such as boredom and stress have multiplied.

The important thing to remember when facing triggers is to get out of self.

Think about someone who needs your help. Go take a walk. Call your sponsor. Stop thinking about whatever is triggering you and do something else.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO
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