Focus on Hope
I think most people would agree that we are living through challenging times. The Corona Virus Pandemic and all that comes with it including, lost loved ones, health anxiety, financial stress and forced lifestyle changes just to name a few, are taking their toll. Additionally, many of us are dealing with extreme weather events all while navigating the choppy waters of a deep political divide during an intense election cycle. How on earth are we to stay sane much less sober and serene?
I have never been more grateful for my sobriety than I am now. Staying focused on recovery during challenging times is something we learn to do early on. These skills serve us well at times like these. The skills and attitudes we learn to live by in order to recover from addiction are the same skills and attitudes that it takes to be resilient. Because we learn to practice this way of life on a regular basis it sets us up to survive hard times.
Of course, not everyone is as established and stable in this thinking and that is why we emphasize community and connection. Staying clean and sober during times like these can be challenging especially if you are new to recovery or not yet able to achieve physical sobriety. At a time when alcohol sales have gone through the roof, the number of suicides and opioid overdoses are all on the rise tells me that the stress level is devastating the most vulnerable among us.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with obtaining or sustaining physical sobriety, my strong suggestion is to get professional help. Substance Use Disorder (addiction) is a chronic life threatening illness and getting clean and sober is often harder than staying that way. For some it takes multiple attempts to quit and stay quit. Even in the case of relapse, don’t give up, some people relapse before they “get it” and every relapse teaches a missing truth that improves the odds and gets us closer to our goal of sobriety.
Many of us need professional help, especially if there is co-occurring mental health issues or if multiple substances are being used. This can be very tricky but there is a whole world of capable people that can help you even if you are homeless and broke. I have included a link below to our resource page, help is available regardless of Covid19.
For those of us who are clean, sober and relatively stable – it’s online meetings, outdoor socially distanced meetings with masks, regular phone time with others in recovery, prayer and meditation, speaker meeting recordings, journaling, telehealth appointments with health and mental health professionals, reading inspiring books and recovery literature and inventory work.
Maybe there’s a silver lining in all of this. Maybe this situation has given you the opportunity to indulge in creative projects that you’ve been meaning to get to, or cleaning and organizing chores long overdue. Possibly, this is a transition point in life you didn’t know you needed, or a time to go inward and reevaluate. Sometimes it just helps to re-frame a situation so we can get a better perspective.
Hope is an important principle of recovery, if there is no hope, we won’t try, if we don’t try, things won’t change, if nothing changes then nothing changes.
Here is how I practice focusing on hope:
First, I remind myself that it’s not only what happens to me, but what I do in response to what happens to me that determines my personal experience and final outcome.
Next, I assess the situation, careful not to exaggerate or minimize the situation – I often run this by another person to be sure I’m seeing things clearly.
Then I ask myself:
1. What could I be hopeful about in this situation right now?
2. What gives me reason for hope?
3. What can I do to increase the chances for a positive outcome?
4. How can I stay focused and productive toward that end?
I hope you try my recipe for hope. As always, I hope you find this to be helpful, if so, please like, share and comment, I would love to hear from you!
I’m Just Sayin,