Medically Reviewed

How to Stay Sober During a National Emergency

- 5 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic at hand, people in recovery are facing unique challenges when it comes to staying sober during a national emergency. Grocery store shelves are empty, businesses are closing, and people across the nation are affected in devastating ways. Moreover, the CDC and The White House are suggesting extreme social distancing measures – advising people to limit gatherings to 10 people or less.[1] Under these guidelines, 12-Step meetings and other recovery groups are suspending their meetings until further notice. 


Not only are people in recovery concerned about making their meetings, but many are also experiencing anxiety, fear, job loss, and more. Some are self-isolating due to exposure or underlying health conditions. On the other hand, parents are desperately trying to find childcare due to school closures. It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has temporarily changed daily life as we know it. However, change isn’t always easy to cope with, especially in early recovery. Here are some tips to help you stay sober during a national emergency. 


Take Advantage of Online Meetings

With social distancing becoming the new norm, there is an extensive list of AA meetings that are canceling their meetings until further notice. Now, this is important to help prevent the spreading of the illness, but meetings are a vital part of recovery. In fact, they are so important that many people abide by the saying “90 meetings in 90 days,” meaning they go to to one meeting every day for the first three months of their sobriety. Sadly, meeting cancellations are displacing 12-Step members from being able to go to their weekly meetings.  


Thanks to technology today, there are plenty of online meetings that have sprung up amid the Coronavirus pandemic. You can find these meetings in Facebook groups and In The Rooms, an online meeting platform that has been holding online meetings for a long time. If you belong to a homegroup, you can even encourage members of your group to start their own online meetings. This allows you to keep up with your meeting schedule and stay sober during the national emergency. Plus – you might meet some interesting people from all over, providing you with an opportunity to expand your sober support network.


Stay Connected with your Sober Supports

When you finish an addiction treatment program, they tell you to stay connected with your sober support group. Whether your group is comprised of fellow addicts and alcoholics, family members, or both, it’s important to stay connected with them even if you can’t see each other in person. Thankfully, the technology we constantly have at our fingertips allows us to be more connected than ever before. Even if you’re self-isolating physically, you don’t have to isolate socially. 


National emergencies are scary, and most people haven’t experienced something like the Coronavirus before, so it’s normal to feel a little anxious or scared. However, this is all the more reason to stay connected with your support group. Simply talking about your fears and anxieties helps reduce the power they have over your mind. Keeping in touch with the people who help you stay sober will help reduce your fears about the national emergency currently unfolding. 


Find Ways to Combat Boredom

Let’s face it – while practicing social distancing or self-isolation, you’re bound to go a little stir crazy. However, cabin fever is not a friend of addicts and alcoholics. In fact, boredom is something that triggers many people to make them want to get high, especially in early recovery. If you suffer from addiction, you probably spent a lot of your free time in the past getting drugs, using drugs, and recovering from the effects of them. On the other hand, early recovery typically consists of meetings, job-hunting or returning to work, and a lot of group therapy.


Due to the national emergency, your daily routine that helps you stay sober may be interrupted. You might have a lot more idle time now. To cope with boredom, try finding a new hobby, taking a hike to somewhere you’ve never been, learning an instrument, or reading a book that you’ve always wanted to read. When you stay busy, you’ll have less time to think about drugs or alcohol and more of an initiative to stay away from them.


Keep Yourself Healthy

When you have a lot of idle time or are told to stay at home, it’s tempting to lounge on the couch all-day while binge-watching Netflix with your favorite snack in hand. Although that’s okay in moderation, it’s still important to stay active, spend time outdoors, and eat healthy foods. Exercise, nutrition, and nature all have the ability to boost your natural endorphin production, reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate your mood.[2] Since taking care of your mental health is essential in sobriety, these small actions go a long way. By simply taking care of yourself you’ll feel better and be healthier.  You will also have the upper hand at staying sober throughout the national emergency. 


Need Help Getting Sober? Give us a Call.

Just because there is a virus going around doesn’t mean now isn’t the time to get sober. If you or a loved one is battling drug or alcohol addiction, don’t wait any longer. ( Get your life back by enrolling in an addiction treatment program today. 

*Learn more about Coronavirus precautions that addiction treatment centers are taking.