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Provided by Reese Jones, guest contributor

Due to the global pandemic, services and care centers have become less accessible to individuals recovering from substance and behavioral addiction. Rehabilitation centers have limited the number of admissions and some clinics have even shut down to prevent the spread of the virus. This has caused significant disruption to the daily routines of those recovering from addiction; many families may be unsure of how to support their loved ones. Some medical professionals and institutions have adopted telemedicine as a treatment method during these times, which can help mitigate consequences such as relapses and overdoses. Despite limitations, online and remote resources such as virtual meetings can help provide some much-needed support to affected communities.

Regular check-ins can provide a sense of structure

Staying connected with others has a positive impact on overall mood and well-being. Connection is even more vital for those recovering from addictive behaviors. Stress related to work and environmental instability can trigger a return to pre-treatment attitudes. Providing a sense of routine can help bring those in recovery back out of the shadows and reduce the likelihood of temptation. Scheduling regular check-ups through voice or video calls can bring back some structure and ease some mental health challenges. Encouraging individuals to set aside time for work and play, even if they’re at home, can also improve the process of recovery.

Access to educational tools can boost awareness

For families who are new to the process, there are plenty of online resources that provide a background on the factors linked to addictive behavior and help guide individuals through the process of recovery. With video conferencing, families gain a deeper understanding from professionals as they lean on the skills these practitioners learned at university. Most graduates who entered the field studied human development and family studies in college, equipping them with the ability to communicate and support individuals going through the complex process of treatment and recovery. Learning about the psychological principles behind addiction from skilled professionals will instill a greater sense of confidence in family members and friends.

Smartphone apps can build a sense of community

While online resources do have limited accessibility for some, connecting with like-minded individuals through apps can provide significant aid to those in vulnerable situations. Many of these apps have been developed in response to the pandemic and have a series of useful features that add value to the recovery process. Some apps include social media features, 24/7 access to licensed therapists, and the ability to join virtual group meetings specific to your area. Other apps also collect and analyze behavior patterns, which can provide personalized insights into the process of long-term recovery. For many individuals, having the ability to take their healing in their own hands can be a powerful tool.

Many resources are economical and easily accessible for newcomers

For those who are taking the first step towards seeking behavioral help for addiction, many online resources are free to sign up for or require a minimal fee to join the program. Some individuals might suffer from social anxiety or other factors that can prevent them from seeking in-person aid. Online chat rooms and group meetings can provide a greater sense of anonymity for some. In addition, these allow newcomers to seek guidance at all hours of the day as opposed to in-person forms of treatment. However, all individuals should be mindful of any information found on online communities and verify whether it is backed up by scientific research.

During this pandemic, families and individuals are especially vulnerable to the unpredictable nature of events. However, there are plenty of online resources that can provide remote aid for those on the path to recovery. Setting a regular schedule, joining online meetings, and making use of online forums are all great ways to prevent the rise of addictive behaviors. Family & Friends meetings can teach affected families key skills on self-protection and non-confrontational communication to help their addicted loved one through this process.


About SMART Recovery Family & Friends

SMART Recovery Family & Friends helps those who are affected by substance abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other addictions of a loved one. Our program is a science-based, secular alternative to Al-Anon and the Johnson Intervention, and our method is based on the tools of SMART Recovery and CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). CRAFT aims to teach family and friends self-protection and non-confrontational communication skills to help their addicted loved one find recovery.

You can find Family & Friends meetings in-person and online.

If you are interested in starting a Family & Friends meeting in your local area, we would love to hear from you. Please click here to learn more about starting a Family & Friends meeting.

Click here to read more about SMART Recovery Family & Friends.

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