Coronavirus outbreak: How therapists stay connected to anxious, isolated clients during an uneasy time
Authored by Ken Redmile
– Beth Greenfield with Yahoo
“Recovery, by its very nature, means that people who do well develop a really extensive support group — a sponsor, 12-step meetings. Many go [to meetings] every day for at least 90 days, some go every day for a year, and most who stay continue to go on a fairly regular basis, just maybe not at that level,” Deni Carise, chief science officer at Recovery Centers of America and part of the recovery community for 30 years, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Some of the AAisms — ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets,’ ‘You can’t isolate because up in your head, alone, is a dangerous place’ — they frankly speak to this [pandemic situation] already. The camaraderie, the continued focus, the reminder you get every day that your top priority is not to drink, new people coming in, the people who will nicely challenge you when you say, ‘I wasn’t that bad.’ They all help people maintain recovery, reminding you that you’re here for a reason. And right now, we’re in the midst of a real deadly epidemic of overdoses.”
So, what can people in recovery who depend on in-person support do now that many support-group and 12-step meetings are being canceled? “If you have a sponsor, it’s time to start calling every day. If you are a sponsor, call them to check in,” Carise advises. Luckily, she notes, there are many virtual recovery meetings through AA, NA and other resources (often through the platform Zoom), as well as more Facebook Live meetings with recovery topics. “We’re in the process of putting a number of online resources on our website — recoverycentersofamerica.com and our Facebook page.”
It’s important to find ways to virtually connect she adds, noting, “The ability to go downhill very quickly based on your state of mind and inability to interact with others can be a very steep slope.”
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