Recovering from addiction: stay strong while social distancing
Regence’s Dr. Amy Khan offers tips, online resources; partner Hazelden-Betty Ford makes apps available for free
People in addiction recovery are isolated from family, friends and their support networks during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be an additional challenge in this unprecedented time. Physical distancing can feel particularly socially isolating and sometimes overwhelming.
“Solitude and being disconnected from our usual support system and social contacts can be destabilizing for people with substance use disorder,” says Dr. Amy Khan, a Regence executive medical director who specializes in addiction medicine. “That’s why I encourage these individuals to stay connected with those who understand the recovery experience and actively identify virtual resources that can help support their recovery goals.
Additionally, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a Regence provider partner that offers high-quality, evidence-based addiction treatment services for millions of people and their families. As a needed support during COVID-19, Hazelden Betty Ford is expanding its virtual services to reach those in need of treatment or support in new ways, including some options for free.
Its RecoveryGo program provides virtual access to world-class outpatient addiction and mental health care services. Hazelden Betty Ford also offers free support resources for those in recovery, and its website features links to online support meetings, podcasts and blogs, social media groups, mobile apps, and much more. (See below for more details).
Dr. Khan offers the following quick reminders for people in recovery during social distancing:
- Stay clear about your number one goal. That’s you! Stay focused on your safety and well-being during addiction recovery daily.
- Be proactive. Take steps to address unexpected challenges related to COVID-19 and avoid the risk of relapse into negative thinking, behaviors or substance use. If struggling, contact your doctor or behavioral health therapist to discuss virtual care options. Regence Customer Service can also help you research ways to receive care. In an emergency, call 911 or a crisis hotline.
- Acknowledge your feelings. It is normal to experience worry, loneliness, uncertainty or loss of routine. Talk about these emotions with people in your recovery network. Writing down your emotions can also be helpful.
- Physical health is especially important. Avoid being too hungry or too tired. Focus on a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and continuing to exercise. Make sure to stay on top of managing any chronic conditions, including taking any medications for high blood pressure, diabetes or allergies.
- Take it one day at a time, one moment at a time. You are not alone. Stay the course and hang in there.
- Stay socially connected. Combat feelings of isolation by reaching out to others. Clearly identify your recovery needs and link to online resources that can support you. Go virtual with online support groups or use mobile apps and social media groups to stay in touch with the recovering community.
To maintain that social connection, Khan shares the following resources:
- The Daily Pledge − online social community providing support, fellowship and Twelve Step meetings
- Alcoholics Anonymous online meetings – online meetings and resources
- Narcotics Anonymous online meetings – find a virtual meeting hosted by NA groups nationwide
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tips for social distancing and isolation
- Regence Customer Service is available to help Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Time, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., by calling the number on the back of your member ID card. TTY users dial 711.
- Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation – its free mobile apps include the following:
Mobile MORE® Field Guide to Life
Winner of the White House Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge!
My Sober Life
Twenty-Four Hours a Day