By PETER GRAYSON
Executive Director at BIGVISION
Addiction is a disease of isolation and rationalization. These can be overwhelming forces for someone on a good day-in a period of quarantine and social distancing, it’s like injecting steroids into the beast. This is coupled with a tangible level of collective anxiety and grief over the unknown.
I put myself back in time to the beginning of my recovery journey, before I started to work with BIGVISION, and can empathize with just how difficult it is for a young adult to sustain recovery today. Someone about to embark on this path might ask, “What’s the point?” Easy question to ask in the midst of a pandemic with all the grim news cycles. Social media is littered with glorification of substances, everyone seems to be doing a Zoom cocktail hour and adding salt to the wound, alcohol sales and cannabis dispensaries were deemed essential services. Woah, those are some rough seas to navigate!
We know through decades of research that the community element is critical to sustaining recovery–it truly does take a village. There has always been a missing link after treatment that makes it especially challenging for a young person in early recovery to find healthy lifestyle outlets that can be fulfilling. Back to those ‘good old days’ pre-COVID-19, it was already hard enough for someone in recovery to find fulfilling and fun things to do. In this lockdown period, it can be paralyzing.
One of the most therapeutic acts for a person in recovery is to be surrounded by a community of people overcoming similar challenges. Just as critically, they need to be able to have fun, and to experience some joy and find their passions in life!
Connection is part of the cure, therefore, technology is proving to be at the heart of the solution.
The irony isn’t lost that in a period of quarantine, now is the time that these services are most in need. Isolation is a petri dish for relapse. Connection is part of the cure, therefore, technology is proving to be at the heart of the solution. The ability to shift to virtual programming and online events has proved absolutely lifesaving. We can now get together and connect in deeply meaningful and enjoyable ways, providing a healthy escape from the challenges we are facing.
BIGVISION is a nonprofit that was established five years ago for just this purpose–to bridge the gap between treatment and sustainable recovery with fun, community and connection. Since COVID-19 BIGVISION pivoted from doing in-person events to an all virtual schedule of events and community connection with a comprehensive schedule for young adults in recovery. Getting out of our heads and connecting with a community just may make all the difference in getting through the day, and you will definitely have some fun doing so!
For resources and tips around dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, visit JED’s Coronavirus Mental Health Resource Guide and for the latest on mental health, visit our News & Issues page.
Peter Grayson has spent over a decade vertically integrated through the substance abuse treatment space- from person in recovery, to a seasoned clinician turned innovative healthcare executive, integrating therapy, lifestyle and community as core elements of sustainable recovery.