Staying sober during a pandemic in Portland isn't easy. But it is possible.How are you holding up? 

All of us at Shanti Recovery and Wellness are working overtime to respond to this unprecedented health and economic crisis that our nation and our world is currently facing. These are difficult times but we will get through them together. 

Here’s a quick update on what’s going on at the clinic: 

  • We are open and we are committed to staying open! 
  • We are practicing social distancing personally and professionally. 
  • We are following all CDC guidelines closely and checking for updates daily. 
  • If at all possible, we are asking that patients please attend appointments virtually at this time. Over 90% of our patients are choosing digital appointments, which is great!
  • Do not come into the clinic if you are feeling even slightly unwell or have reason to believe you have been exposed to COVID-19. Call ahead if you are unsure. 
  • Download the Kareo app to access telemedicine appointments. (Here’s where you can download the Android or Apple versions.)

Our clinic plans to stay open no matter what happens in the coming months. We are considered an essential service. Pharmacies will stay open. You should be able to fill your prescriptions no matter what. As per CDC recommendations, we are encouraging patients to stock up on two weeks of medicines if possible. (Call us for questions, this isn’t always possible with all medicines.)  

Remember: We are here to serve you! We will get through this together.

With that out of the way, today, let’s talk about how to stay sober during a pandemic.

Stick to your routine as much as possible 

Stick to your regular routine as much as possible.

With stay home orders now in place in our state and many people already practicing social distancing, many of you are experiencing significant disruptions in your routine. 

Day-to-day structure and routine are proven to help stabilize mental health and aid in recovery, so these disruptions are particularly dangerous to sobriety. 

Try to maintain your routine as much as possible. If you are telecommuting, work the same hours you would normally. If you typically go to the gym at certain times, exercise at home or in nature during those times. Observe your usual mealtimes, sleeping patterns, and other habitual rhythms in your life as much as possible. 

Do social distancing but stay connected

Stay connected during social distancing.

We strongly advise all patients to practice the social distancing measures put in place by our local, state, and federal governments. They are for your protection and the protection of our healthcare system. 

That said, community is a very important part of recovery. 

The recovery community has stepped up to the challenge with virtual meetings. 

Do not stop going to meetings right now if meetings are a part of your recovery program. We strongly advise increasing—not decreasing—your meeting attendance during this crisis. 

Reach out for help early and often 

Reach out for support early and often.

These are really difficult times and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or hopeless. It’s also normal for the stress of this pandemic to put us at risk for relapse. 

If you are thinking about harming yourself or feeling like your sobriety is in immediate danger, stop what you are doing and pick up the phone. Call your sponsor or a friend or family member. If none of them pick up or you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call the amazing folks at Lines for Life.

Lines for Life is open 24/7 and they are there to listen as long as you need. They will help you navigate out of hard places, day or night. 

Lines for LIfe: 1-800-273-8255 or text “273TALK” to 839863. 

If you need or want to connect with another person in recovery, you can call our local Portland NA or AA helplines.

NA Helpline: 503-345-9839

24 Hour AA Helpline: 503-223-8569

Stressed because you lost your job? Here’s a list of free resources for help with rent, utilities, and more. You can also dial 211 for up-to-date information on virus-related relief efforts. 

Find a positive focus 

Find a positive focus like this really special dog.

These are trying times even in the best circumstances and it is easy to get lost in bad news and negativity on social media. 

Find a positive focus during this time and try to bring your attention back to it when you feel overwhelmed. This could be anything from cooking to gardening to playing with your dog. Meditation and exercise are great options. So are playing music, working on your car, doing crafts, putting together puzzles, organizing closets, or tackling other home projects. 

Feel like being helpful? Meals on Wheels needs volunteer drivers. The hospitals are asking people to sew masks for doctors and nurses.

Make a list of a few nourishing activities that speak to you and choose an activity from your list if you feel like you need a “reset.” 

Expect the next few months to be difficult Staying sober during a pandemic is as difficult as this ice skating trick.    

You probably already know this, but let’s be honest: this isn’t going to be easy. 

Staying sober is a challenge. Staying sober during a global pandemic is olympic-level recovery. 

You’ve been chosen to meet this challenge. 

Try to accept that this is going to be hard. Expect that you’ll need to do more self-care and more recovery-oriented activities than usual. Now is not the time to take on extra responsibilities or optional challenges. Stick to the basics. Be kind to yourself and those around you as you figure out how to do recovery in a changing world. Take one day at a time and focus on doing the next right thing. 

It’s going to be hard, but you can do this. When we get to the other side of this crisis, your recovery game is going to be stronger than ever before. 

We’re rooting for you. 

– Your team at Shanti Recovery and Wellness