Americans have faced many crises such as wars, disasters and 9/11 to name a few. One of the hallmarks of the American spirit is the generosity and caring for others that comes to the forefront during times of national need. Americans are resilient and we mobilize to solve problems. It’s who we are and it’s what makes our nation so great.And so, it is no surprise to hear of the outpouring of generosity in response to the Covid-19 pandemic (both corporately and individually). Corporations, celebrities and athletes giving generously to help people suffering economically and individuals helping neighbors, the elderly and others in need. The world has changed, but three facts have not:
- We still have monthly bills, house payments, car payments, etc.
- Alcoholism and drug addiction have not gone away (they will actually increase).
- Opioid overdose deaths will continue to rise (over 3/4 of a million of our family members have died and still counting).
There are another three facts that we must consider during this pandemic.
Drug and alcohol use among teens whose parents verbalize a “NO USE” message is considerably lower than teens whose parents are indifferent or avoid the conversation. Take advantage of the Covid-19 quarantine: Talk to your children about the dangers of drug use.
To learn how visit: www.wowcoalition.org/resources/ Under “Parent Support”
People with an “attitude of gratitude” are more upbeat, positive and energized. Three tips/things I can do to work on developing an attitude of gratitude:
- Make it your habit to say “thank you” and to express thanks to those who give you something or do something for you.
- Count your blessings. Write or journal the things that you are grateful for on a weekly (or daily) basis.
- Pay it forward. Look for ways to benefit others and look out for others. Check on your neighbors and connect with family and friends through call, text, or video means. This is a great way to express your gratitude to others.
For those of the faith community, you can express gratitude through prayer and meditation. And, as you are grateful to others, remember to be kind to yourself and practice self-care in these troubled times.
And here are the great benefits of being grateful:
- Improves our physical and psychological health
- Increases our energy, quality of sleep and mental strength
- Reduces negative emotions such as envy, hatred, and anger
- Increases positive emotions such as love and empathy
- Helps people recover from substance misuse
- Reduces depression and improves self-esteem
- Keeps suicidal thoughts and attempts at bay
People in recovery from Substance Use Disorder (alcoholism and drug dependency) are among the most vulnerable during this pandemic. The act of isolation will help “flatten the curve” of the pandemic we face, and it will not allow Covid-19 to spread unchecked; but it is ironic that isolation is also the thing that is the most detrimental to the person battling addiction.
Addiction is a disease of isolation and part of the healing is owning up to others about your addiction. Support groups are very powerful in the journey of recovery and there are now many hurdles to achieving this kind of support and accountability. We want to Get in the Way of Covid-19 to prevent its spread, but we don’t want to Get in the Way of someone who is actively seeking recovery.
Addiction support programs are doing their best to provide virtual options to provide support. But the reality is that people in recovery are struggling to connect in these settings. Most support programs have now gone to conference calls, online virtual meetings, social networks and apps. Still, the human touch is missing as those in recovery struggle to connect and this creates stress and anxiety, which are recipes for relapse.
So, it is even more critical to reach out and care for those who are more vulnerable now in their recovery journey. We can lovingly check in with our friends and family member in recovery. We can encourage them to utilize the virtual options during this period of isolation. We can urge them to try different options until they find one that works for them.
Here are helpful links to locate AA (Alcoholics Annonymous) online meetings and NA (Narcotics Annonymous) online meetings.
We may have to maintain a six-foot distance of safe spacing between us, but we can still reach out and touch heart to heart and let them know that they are not alone. We can express genuine care and concern that connects with them and lets them know that they are not truly isolated. Let’s take care of our neighbors in this pandemic and let’s especially take care of our friends and loved ones in recovery.