As the pandemic continues to drag on, so do many of the people trying to maintain their daily structure. However, peace is not so easily found, especially in recovery. While there are options for getting help, there seems to be a divide amongst those who sought therapy in a pre-pandemic world and those in recovery who have transitioned to virtual meetings during the pandemic. Some have struggled to try to attend online meetings held via Zoom and Google Hangouts. Some believe that these kinds of interactions cannot provide the same benefits that in-person meetings can. While there are valid concerns over the lack of the in-person experiences of being close to someone, getting the attention needed, and reading and experiencing a person’s body language, it should not be overlooked that the most important aspect to these online meetings is the connection with others.
Others in recovery who have transitioned to virtual meetings understand that while these meetings cannot offer all the things that in-person meetings can, it is the connectedness that is important and helps them through. Amid a global crisis where uncertainty is abundant and ever-present in millions of people’s daily lives, there is comfort in knowing that you have a way to remain in contact. This connectedness offers hope and can help you weather these times and carry your recovery into a post-pandemic world.
While working from home is not a new concept, it was usually a choice in the past.
Now, in many cases, working from home has become mandatory and many people are having to adapt to a “new normal.” Even for those who do not work from home, reporting to the office can now carry a lot of stress and fear. Even when you are around others, because of social distancing, you are still isolating yourself in different ways. The constant vigilance and defense against the coronavirus are stressful and exhausting. For a person in recovery, these added factors add to the stress that already comes with managing the addiction disorder.
If you are working from home, you probably experience days of apathy—feeling listless and not motivated to accomplish anything. Other days you might feel anxiety, fearing that you will face larger problems if things continue as they are, such as the loss of a job, apartment, and risk of relapse. The structure and balance in your life have been missing and if you are neglecting to get help, the struggle will be that much harder. When you feel this isolated, remember that there are communities online that will welcome you in. True Recovery is among the top treatment centers that offer you support, with many options and a diverse community. These meetings and gatherings are just a phone or Zoom call away.
Lost in the Crowd
Among the many things offered by services like Zoom, online meetings can give everybody the sense that they are involved and recognized. However, you could still feel lost in the crowd and overlooked if you are in a meeting with 1,000 other participants. While this format may be fine for an online concert or event, it isn’t ideal if you are trying to have a meaningful exchange and support from others. There are many different groups of varying sizes that meet online and you can find meetings that fit your needs.
Find Focus in the Meeting
When having an online meeting, stay focused on the meeting. Because you aren’t present online in the same way as in-person, you might be tempted to multi-task and let your focus wander to checking emails, sending texts, etc. By staying focused on the meeting at hand, you will be more engaged and will be able to remember people, their names, and their stories, which could help you build a relationship with this person after the meeting. Don’t restrict yourself to using only video conferencing. Look at using the phone or email to connect as well. Some people prefer phone conversations because the phone reduces some of the self-consciousness and distractions that come with video chat, such as looking at yourself in the small window box or trying to hold your eyes on the camera when someone is talking. You can also turn off the camera on your phone and laptop and have voice-only meetings.
Finally, look for smaller group settings. True Recovery holds meetings for smaller groups, allowing you to meet and share stories with everybody. Like with in-person meetings, the purpose behind these virtual meetings is to continue building bonds with others after the meeting. Remember names and contacts, as well as offering your contact information. This is an excellent way to build a friendship outside of the meeting and create for yourself a small support group that gets together to chat, have coffee, or watch movies online. While online sessions cannot compensate for lack of touch, it has been discovered that smaller, more intimate gatherings do help to reduce the need for touch because they feel more personal, thus creating a stronger bond.
While humans make connections through touch, we also connect with others through facial expressions and body language. This has been an obstacle for counselors and patients alike to overcome. However, telehealth services have done a great job recognizing and addressing it. Not because telehealth has found an alternative to present patients in a way where it is easier to read body language, but it has made itself a critical way to reach out and talk to people who may not have access to appointments and meetings otherwise. This is because telehealth can reach people all over the country and extend its services to those living in rural areas or who may not have transportation or a computer with internet. Telehealth services can provide many forms of care over the phone, so help is no longer out of reach.
Current measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as working from home and social distancing, have caused a lot of people to feel alone and lose hope in the future. You are not alone and hope is here, you just have to reach out for it. Virtual meetings and telehealth services provide new, safe alternatives for in-person appointments and meetings. Use these services and find the option that suits your needs. If ever you are feeling lost, it is more reason to seek help. We at True Recovery offer 24/7 treatment and have been at the forefront of developing quality care for you during the pandemic. Our center, established in 2014, has been working toward achieving equal opportunities and care for those who struggle with addiction and mental disorders. You never have to feel lost in the shuffle. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.