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Social Distancing and Addiction

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

Daily I am finding myself in the new normal of life in the middle of a global pandemic, the coronavirus.  In recovery I have found the statement to be true, “Connection is the opposite of addiction.”  In addiction, fear, worry, and future tripping were all part of a daily language that drove me deeper into my addiction.  So in sobriety I find real joy in daily connecting in healthy ways with others—friends in recovery, friends outside of recovery, family, and even just people I come into contact with as I go through my day (baristas, cashiers, etc.)  I find connection with many different people.

In many ways, “social distancing” feels similar to addiction in that it breaks my connection to others, disrupts my daily routines, and induces fear.  Fear of the unknown often leads to future tripping which inhibits my ability to stay in the present   If I am not careful, working from home, trying to stay away from larger crowds, and limiting social interaction can drive me into my own world.  In recovery I have a choice to stay in the present and face fears one day at a time.

So how do we respond?  For me, choosing to continue the daily practices that have helped me get where I am—4.5 years free from addiction—is the best response.

  1. Gratitude lists— I have a lot to be grateful for.  I don’t think I have ever put toilet paper on my gratitude list, but it made my list today, not to mention safety, health, and family.  Gratitude lists have been and continue to be a practical way for me to connect daily with the truth of my world.

  2. Connection—  It's interesting, although technology can be a trigger point in sexual and pornography addiction, today I am using technology to stay connected to friends all around the world.

  3. Reading—  In the early days of recovery I read anything and everything I could get my hands on that would help me learn how to walk in freedom.  Though my reading has slowed, today I still read some type of recovery literature each day.

  4. Limit news— Technology has become a double edged sword when it comes to getting the “truth” in the news.  In split seconds, opposing views of breaking stories get reported as true.  With the many different sources of news we have, it's near impossible to know what to believe.  The past several years I have been distancing myself from the news.  During this time, I find myself needing to stay somewhat informed, but I am choosing to limit my intake of news.

  5. Prayer— The first step in recovery is to recognize our powerlessness over something.  There may be nothing that our country has faced in my lifetime that we have been more powerless over than this global pandemic.  So as the anxiety creeps in and tightens my chest, and I wonder how bad this thing will get, what I can do is admit my powerlessness and turn to God.

No matter what happens, I know that turning back to pornography, going back into addiction, will only make things worse.  Grace and peace to you on this journey of recovery.

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