No one can argue that what we are facing, collectively as a society, seems like the entire world has been turned upside down. Indeed, life doesn’t resemble much of what we all enjoyed just a month or two ago. While this shift has been faced all over the world, it can seem oddly personal. Sometimes, for those facing addiction, it can seem like the mounting pressures, mandates, and uncertainties are heightened and increasingly overwhelming when added to the daily challenge of sticking to sobriety.
We are often told to find the silver lining in life’s complications, but this pandemic is something none of us have ever experienced. When you don’t know how something will turn out, it can be tough to stay positive…and on track.
Managing Physical Isolation
Isolation can be difficult for just about anyone, let alone someone who has battled addiction. After all, we as humans thrive in social settings. We create social and emotional bonds across out entire lives, even at work. When we are physically separated from those who we are so used to spending time with, it can be extremely difficult. And that’s why the concept of social distancing really should be, in name and practice, limited to physical distancing.
In fact, we can get a great deal of benefit from truly connecting with our friends and acquaintances despite not being around them. Further, this may be a time to learn more about our closest friends. Often, our surroundings – when we meet in person – distract us from developing that deeper relationship that many of us crave. As strange as it may seem, the physical distance may actually bring us closer by improving the quality and depth of our relationships.
Removing the Bad Influence
But one thing COVID-19 has done is force us to take pause and face a different form of isolation.
Those of us who struggle with addiction have also found ourselves isolated from people, places, and activities that one served as triggers and reminders of all the years when we didn’t have control. If anything can be taken from this experience, it’s that we have been given a “restart.” This time has been particularly important in realizing that “isolating” from those people and places that didn’t serve us in the past, still should not serve us in the future.
It takes a very brave person, as we know, to remove oneself from those things and people that challenge our mental and physical well-being. So, imagine the strength and transformation those of us in recovery can develop by taking this alone time to really analyze the distance, literally and figuratively, we’ve put between our former selves and who we are now.
Where We Go from Here
Regardless of the prism through which you filter this life experience, you will be changed. Some of us will see our former impact on the environment and change our daily behaviors, while others will realize the rat-race professionally and personally brought no additional joy. Still, others will finally choose to invest in those people and things that really matter.
Let’s not think of it as self-isolation; rather another chance to watch our old lives from the outside and be thankful for how far we’ve come.