The disease will use a pandemic

I love hearing people in recovery say, “While I’m in here, my disease is out in the parking lot doing pushups.” That’s a perspective in which a healthy fear is mitigated through diligence, knowing that we are never immune and never fully recovered. The disease of addiction will use anything it can to undermine us. That includes our current pandemic.

We’ve temporarily lost the opportunity for in-person meetings and other forms of support. I’ve heard from a lot of my people how not being able to hug their chosen family has left them feeling profoundly alone. Social distancing is a mixed bag – it promotes health for everyone but it absolutely makes daily life and recovery harder.

It’s easier to focus on what we’ve lost than on making the best out of what we have. One of the ongoing challenges in recovery is to approach any given situation seeking opportunities for connection, growth, and healing. We all know the clichés about how attitude is everything, but the wisdom in that can’t be overstated. Gratitude and attitude have everything to do with our continued success.

I love the adage, “Pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.” I know that’s true, and I also know that the same can be said for fear, loss, and transition. Anything that limits me is a reminder to me of how much I need acceptance, coping, and grace. In order to receive those, I need to grow in my connection to my Higher Power, my people, and myself.

A pandemic is simply one more thing that I’m powerless over. My choice is to suffer or surrender. When I resist powerlessness, I suffer. When I surrender to a power greater than myself, not only do I allow myself to receive grace; I quickly move out of the problem and into the solution.

Today, I get to reach out to old friends and renew our connections. I get to make the phone calls I’d been procrastinating. I get to invest in my spiritual practices. I read and write more. I am using technology that I had resisted in the past and I’m reminded that my resistance is always fear.

I have an awareness that “This too shall pass.” What I do between now and then is in my control. I hope that each of us is reaching out more than ever. I hope that we’re doubling down on step work, hitting group therapy or IOPs online, and delving back into the literature.

This is a time for taking stock and recommitting to ourselves, our loved ones, and our programs.