The world seems to be a topsy-turvey place these days. The Coronavirus is wreaking havoc across the globe and yet, here in Miami, vacationers exist as if nothing is wrong. The constant onslaught of horrid news, crisis posturing, and the urge to let loose the anxiety that is building can be a recipe for disaster for an addict.
This is nothing new for us here in Florida. Soon, we’ll be entering hurricane season, when – despite the beauty and perfection of our surroundings – there’s always a feeling of apprehension for when the next named storm will be announced and where it will go.
Such things can wreak havoc on a sober life.
So, how do the ones who’ve had years or decades of sobriety make it through times like these?
Well, make no doubt, life stressors can be triggers for anyone, no matter how successful their sober journey has been. The temptation to buy into some sort of surrounding hysteria and toss caution and care to the wind, and end your sobriety, is thick during these times.
But, since we are currently in a time of national panic in some areas, constant government press conferences and rule changes, business upheaval, and more, let’s focus on actual disaster or pandemic sobriety, the sort that has you locked in your house, or something akin to that. When life is beyond stressful, how should you maintain your sobriety?
First and foremost here – you definitely should maintain your sobriety. A relapse in a time of crisis will not only be defeating mentally and physically, but also will be incredibly dangerous. Times of crisis do not offer the sort of readily available help and medical care that would normally be present should you go to far in a relapse. Also, relapsing will impair your ability to care for yourself properly in a crisis, and make the sorts of definitive decisions that need to be made routinely in a crisis. In short, a relapse in a time of crisis could very well kill you.
When a crisis hits, or is about to hit, or even is coming on gradually, you will first need to understand and acknowledge the challenges that you will be facing. “Self soothing” is a very real reaction when those challenges rise up. Ensure that your normal toolkit that you utilize for dealing with cravings is set for an onslaught of challenges. Whatever your coping skills and mechanisms might be, whatever your support system is, ensure that you have a solid hold on it all and you understand that it will be tested. Knowing this, acknowledging it, and preparing for it will lessen its overall impact on you.
Equally as important is that you understand how the crisis has affected you when it is over. Understand it, accept it, and do not push away the toll or emotions that go along with the crisis. This will help keep things from building up within you.
Don’t stress over the future. In a crisis situation, take things one day, or even one moment, at a time. Focusing on the now helps to ensure that what is still to come will be successful. Ensure that you are moving successfully day by day, moment by moment, and you will reach the end of a crisis still firmly in the “sober” category, for sure.
Ensure that your needs are met. Self care is important at all times, but especially so in a crisis. And, if you are able, see to your neighbors, family, and friends as well. Helping others, or knowing that others depend on you, is a great sobriety strategy, because if you fail in your sobriety, you will be letting them down as well, and that will give you reason to fight for sobriety even more.
Sobriety is not easy at any time. That lack of ease is magnified tenfold in a crisis. But, with the rights tools, prep, and mindset during the crisis, no matter what the crisis throws at you, you will come out OK. You will stay sober!