When You’re in Recovery and a Pandemic Hits


Supports and Resources to Help you Through​


A message from Corrina Chase, BCCSU/FNHA Addictions Care Partnership Manager; and Dr. Nel Wieman, Senior Medical Officer, FNHA Office of the Chief Medical Officer

We know the pandemic may be adding stresses and challenges to your unique recovery journey, so we are reaching out to you with some hopeful, encouraging words and helpful information about resources. Whether your recovery journey involves not using substances or using a harm-reduction approach including safer substance use, there is something for you.

Both of us have been in recovery ourselves for many years, and we know that people with “recovery time" can struggle just as much as people trying to get into recovery or to abstain from substance use. We raise our hands to you as you continue to walk your path of healing. The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone feeling out of sorts – and that's okay. We are all in this together and we can get through it, just as we have made it through other difficult times in our lives.

With the work you've done to support yourself on your healing journey, and after living through addiction, you are well aware of what it took to make such drastic changes in your life. You know that being in recovery is about more than just changing your relationship with drinking and or using drugs, and that it requires staying honest with yourself and focusing on your overall health and wellness.

When you entered recovery, you made a conscious commitment to yourself to be on a journey that allows for healing, learning, and personal growth. You became better at identifying your struggles, celebrating your accomplishments, and staying dedicated to maintaining your wellness. Many of you did this in collaboration with others in recovery, through mutual support groups.  We also acknowledge that some people simply abstain from using alcohol and drugs and do not engage in support groups or other activities.  In this case, we want to let you know that we support you in whichever way you choose to live without using substances.

Because of the pandemic, we are now practising physical distancing (keeping at least six feet / two metres apart from people who don't live with us, and not gathering to socialize) and self-isolation -- or are even under quarantine in some cases. This means we will need to discover new ways of connecting to others and that in-person support groups will not be available for a while. It also means we will need to be mindful of not falling into negative thinking and old patterns of self-sabotage that can increase the risk of relapse. It might help to remember that life has always been uncertain, not just during a pandemic.

At times, it may be difficult to feel confident, achieve balance, and stay true to ourselves – we can sometimes be our own worst enemy and ignore our self-preservation instincts or inner voice when it comes to making healthy decisions and avoiding relapse. Instead, we can explore the many ways of supporting ourselves, practising self-care, and coping with the stress and anxiety that this situation is bringing up for us. Some ways we may do this are: smudging, praying to the Creator / our Higher Power, checking out singing and drumming on social media, creating art, and getting out on the land (for more ideas, go to the bottom of this article).

Recovery is an ongoing process of self-discovery and self-growth. If you have had a slip or a relapse, remember this is a part of many people's recovery journey. Try to address and counter-act negative self-talk and feelings of fear, guilt and shame by acknowledging them, identifying them, and replacing them with positive affirmations or actions. You may want to talk it out with a peer in recovery or within your support group. We are all doing the best we can for ourselves and our family and friends.

There are many good videos on YouTube with helpful information specifically for those in recovery during the pandemic, including this vide​o by Tommy Rosen, Founder and Host of Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Online.

Below is a list of resources to help you to connect with others who are in recovery. These are safe spaces for you to express your thoughts and feelings while sharing about relapse triggers, substance-use fantasies, and anything else you have on your mind. As well, if you have some recovery time under your belt, it is equally important that you share with others what you are doing to stay well.

If you are trying to make a change in your life regarding your use of substances or are currently in recovery, celebrate yourself for being a warrior during these times.  Stay strong, everyone!

Virtual Recovery Rooms

 In the Rooms: a global recovery journey

 Smart Recovery: self-management & recovery training 

 AA, Women's Group

 AA, Vancouver meetings


 NA, BC has a virtual meeting daily. To access their virtual recovery rooms, you must first download this platform (called Blue Jeans)​

For the following links, you will need to download this platform (called Zoom) to access their virtual recovery rooms:

 AA Online Meeting Directory 

 Recovery Dharma: “Healing from Addiction with Buddhist Practice," daily meetings via computer, smartphone or dial-in.

 WEconnect and Unity Recovery have partnered to provide four daily all-recovery meetings to anyone in the world. Meetings will follow an open format and are available to anyone in or seeking recovery, seven days a week:  9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight. All times are EDT.

The following links require you to download a mIRC server. After you have done this, you can click on the links below to access online text rooms:




Ideas for Staying on Your Recovery Journey:

 Get out on the land; take nature walks.

 View drumming, dancing, or cultural videos. One good way to do this is by joining the Social Distance Pow Wow Facebook page, which so far has over 173,000 members.

 Exercise at home. For motivation, join the Healthy Active Natives Facebook page, which so far has over 73,000 members.

 Pray to the Creator or your Higher Power.

 Write in a journal.

 Do yoga.

 Meditate / practise mindfulness.

 Colour, paint or draw.

 Practise tai chi.

 ​Limit news intake and distance yourself from negative social media.

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