If there was ever a time to stay connected to the recovery community (as if we needed an excuse), Winter 2020 is it!
The deepening cold and dark of a Minnesota winter is normally a harder time for the average Joe and Jane to keep on the level, but with a spreading pandemic, this winter is time to pull out all the tools in your sobriety and mental health tool box.
When using alcohol and drugs was my coping mechanism, winter was a time to use more. Now that I’m sober (33 years), I just use my recovery tools more. In that sense, I haven’t changed.
Minnesota Public Radio (11 a.m. daily) reporter Angela Davis recently hosted a show on sobriety. She reported alcohol consumption in Minnesota (already one of the top states for alcohol abuse) is up 14 percent due to the pandemic, with heavy drinking by women up 41 percent!
Davis interviewed a Twin Cities AA member, Terry, who has 45 years of sobriety. Terry said the Twin Cities AA community is coping well with the pandemic by offering 250 online meetings/week here’s also an increasing number of social distanced, in-person meetings available). He said calls for help to AA Intergroup (St. Paul Intergroup 651.888.6912) are up 100 percent since the pandemic. Better Intergroup than the bottle or the bong!
MinnPost, an online news service to which I’m a donor, recently interviewed Tai Mendenhall, a licensed marriage and family therapist from the University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps.
Mendenhall urged Minnesotans who are struggling to connect with others — even if it’s a weekly Zoom call with friends or family, and seek professional help if they need it.
Malcolm stressed that free, daily phone support is available to anyone experiencing stress through COVID Cares, a collaboration between the Minnesota Psychiatric Society, Minnesota Psychological Association, Minnesota Black Psychologists and Mental Health Minnesota. Just call 833-HERE4MN (437-3466) 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
More information about mental health, substance abuse and other support is available at the State of Minnesota Covid 19 Response website: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/get-help/mental-health.jsp
So, if you’re struggling in life or with your sobriety, call an AA buddy, hit an online meeting and use other resources available. We can make it through this pandemic winter sober if we stick together. This winter and the pandemic too shall pass. There is another spring on the way!