One day at a time – during recovery and COVID

“The recovery community created the term “one day at a time,” and the recovery community needs to show people what that means.”

This was (one of the many) statements that stood out during one of REAL LIFE’s facebook live groups last week that was led by John Shinholser and his daughter, Mary Page. During this time of COVID, we are providing multiple classes via Facebook live each day for our Lifers, to ensure they receive support and continued services.

In this class, John, who has been in recovery for 28 years, and Mary Page talked about how quarantine life can be tough for a recovering addict. But, they also shared about ways to help cope and ways to live a successful life during this time.

For the first 16 months of John’s recovery, he was a United States Marine and somewhat isolated on a ship. While it is not the same as what we are facing right now, he has had experience in similarly stressful situations. He shared that people can learn from the recovery community. The community is experienced in living day by day, through difficult situations, and through drama and trauma. The rest of the population can learn a thing or two from the community’s experiences.

Most of us previously had a schedule throughout the week. It can be hard to switch it up and be home so much. Mary Page suggests trying to come up with some structure. It is good to have a schedule and keep up with it. Having a schedule will set you up for a good week and keep you on top of what you need to do. As John said, “plan your work, work your plan.” When it comes to children during this time, it can make recovery harder. Mary Page says it’s okay to involve your children with your meetings and you can choose how your kids are educated. This is the best time to connect with your children.

Mary Page describes her first week in quarantine and her struggling with coping with it. She says she has been calling her sponsor every day. Telling people about your disease and sharing your emotions is important! John emphasizes that you want people to your struggles and do not try to hide it; this could cause you to relapse. Let it be known… Staying connected to other recovery people is important! Use your social network and call people. It is important to stay connected in this time and not to isolate yourself. This time is hard enough, but it can be a little less lonely and a little easier with some people to talk to. In this stressful time, stay busy and focus on your recovery.

As John says, “chase your recovery like you would have chased your drugs. Go after your recovery connections like you would your drug connections. It is that new way to live that replaces that old way of desire.”

During this time, we are constantly thinking of our feelings and expressing them a lot more. Feelings are not fact! You might react to a feeling today and have a life long consequence tomorrow. Always think before reacting, but know it is okay to say how you feel. “I know this is a stressful difficult time but, we have been in worse situations.” Whether that be prison, the military, etc. You may be physically isolated, but we are not truly isolated. You have your freedom today and do not have people in uniform telling you when to wake up and eat. You do not have a drug making you feel captive and sick if you do not use.

Use your technology and social media to stay connected! We can and will get through this! Reach out to your peers and to those at REAL LIFE. We are always here for you!