How people in addiction recovery can manage during the isolation of COVID-19March 26, 2020
Spending time in isolation and missing regular support groups and other recovery services can be difficult. Self-isolation can lead to boredom, which can be a trigger for addictive behaviors. The ANTHC Substance Misuse Prevention Program is committed to providing support resources during this time while continuing to celebrate your recovery path through Sobriety Awareness Month.
If you are feeling lonely and overwhelmed by COVID-19 news, here are a few suggestions on how to remain connected to friends, family and recovery support while being asked to stay at home:
- Practice Self Care.
- Mindfulness moments. Meditation apps are available for most smart phones and they can help support and walk people through a few mindful moments to focus on something other than the news and world events. Free apps include: Headspace, Calm and Aura.
- Reach out for support, when needed. Please limit in-personal socialization, instead call your friends and family and take advantage of your favorite video chat platform—FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout.
- Get outside. Alaska offers vast opportunities to explore nature while still practicing safe social distancing.
- Try something new. This is a great time to start (or finish!) a project, new hobby or physical movement routine. Movement can be a great tool in recovery. Exercise can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms and provide a sense of accomplishment.
- Eat healthy foods. Dig into your pantry or freezer to use up some of your traditional, Alaska Native foods. Eating our traditional foods helps us feel connected to our culture, our communities, and our ancestors. They also provide many nutrients that help us deal with stressful and uncertain times.
- Talk with your doctor. If you participate in therapy services, ask your provider about phone, teleconference or video chat sessions in place of your regular appointment. If you have any questions or need any resources, contact your local provider or Behavioral Health Aide.
- Maintain treatment
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recommended that Opioid Treatment Programs in every state provide patients with take-home medication.
- Have your medication mailed out by contacting the ANMC Medication Refill Hotline at (907) 729-2117.
- Try online and at-home recovery resources.
- Alaska 2-1-1: Your one-stop resource for connecting with a wide variety of services in your community. Dial 2-1-1 or 1(800) 478-2221 to connect with a specialist who will work with you to understand your need and connect you with programs and services that can help.
- Alaska Careline: Free, confidential crisis intervention, education and referral resources. You can call from anywhere at (877) 266-HELP (4357).
- Sober Voices Group in Mat-Su offers daily telephone meetings. You can dial in at (712) 432-0075, with the access code 654443#. Note: this is not a toll-free number and meeting themes change daily.
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Offers online support http://aa-intergroup.org/ and AA Hotline/Office support: (907) 272-2312. AA also offers Alaska statewide telephone meetings. You can dial in from anywhere on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. with the number (515) 604-9546, with the access code 35033. Note: this is not a toll-free number.
- Narcotics Anonymous: Offers a variety of online and Skype meeting options https://www.na.org/meetingsearch/
- In The Rooms – Online Recovery Meetings: Provides online support through live meetings and discussion groups https://www.intherooms.com/home/
- The “Sober Grid” smartphone app provides 24/7 live peer coaching and easy-to-access resources for tracking and sharing progress and giving and receiving support.
- SMART Recovery Toolbox: The SMART Recovery Toolbox provides a variety of methods, worksheets, and exercises to help you self-manage your addiction recovery and your life: https://www.smartrecovery.org/smart-recovery-toolbox/
- Contact the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line. If you use nicotine products, know you are at higher risk of contracting viruses of all kinds and suffering more severe symptoms, contact the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line to learn more about free services at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or alaskaquitline.com. Connect with the Quit Line through social media by liking Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line on Facebook.
The health and safety of you and our communities is of the utmost importance. Remember to stay inside, practice social distancing and call your medical provider if you are feeling sick. The situation in our state and around the world is changing every hour, but do not forget to take moments to step back from it all and reach out for support when you need it.
For Alaska Native Medical Center and ANTHC related information about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, go here.
For the State of Alaska Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 website, go here.
From the Anchorage Press: Finding community when we’re asked to stay home.
For substance use and addiction recovery resources in Alaska, check out these resources: