Competing Motivations: social engagement versus social distancing

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on March 16th, 2020 - Last updated: September 28th, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

If, as Johan Harri said, the opposite of addiction is connection, what do we do in a pandemic when the safest thing to do is actually avoid each other?

These are unprecedented and challenging circumstances. I don’t need to name the many ways in which we are being impacted by the Coronavirus since we are all in the midst of experiencing it for ourselves. Even just writing to our Life Process Program global community, it is astonishing to know that every member is in some way affected by this pandemic.

In working to create more of the life experiences that we want, and to leave our addiction behind, we know one of the most important things to do is to increase and expand our engagement with life.

Right now we are being asked to shrink our lives in virtually every way in order to stay safe, not die, and protect others. The exact opposite of “engagement with life.”

In many places, we are being asked or told to #StayIn our homes ( if we have them) for unforeseen periods of time. Many of our future plans and activities are canceled. Uncertainty is the vibe of the day. Probably explaining the shortage of supplies.

This is beginning to happen where I live in Bergen County, New Jersey, which shares a border with New York. Let’s just say toilet paper is in short supply and forget about hand sanitizer! Clearly a problem of privilege.

We are being advised to avoid visiting our seniors, go to churches, temples, or mosques, community meetings, social or political events ( VOTING! ), schools, lectures, cultural events, sports games, gyms…the list really goes on. Just about everything we knew two weeks ago has changed and these changes have brought about more isolation, not connection. The more marginalized, the worse, where healthy food and supplies are always hard to access.

For most human beings, isolation is not good. For those struggling to overcome an addiction, isolation is the opposite of what we are striving for. And when one is in active, problematic drug use, it can be deadly ( to use alone.)

Here at Life Process Program, folks were just beginning to re-start some long-forgotten talents or hobbies, repair neglected or harmed relationships with improved communication skills, and strive to create new, healthier lifestyles. They were making 1-year plans (e.g., “think long term”), igniting passions and involving themselves in causes they care about; all of which align more with the things they value that may have been let go as a result of addiction. Right now, almost all of these attempts are being thwarted by the shared reality of living with Coronavirus.

So…what to do?

I will not attempt to give some glib self-care tips in the midst of a global pandemic.

We may feel alone, and we may even BE alone right now more than ever,

but we are NOT alone

I will say that the Life Process Program is a global community, literally. We may feel alone, and we may even BE alone right now more than ever, but we are NOT alone. Life Process Program is one of the longest standing and most progressive online addiction recovery programs out there. We have real coaches who can talk to our clients in real-time, not algorithms. We, the coaches, embrace harm reduction, social justice, autonomy, empowerment and respect as guiding principles in supporting the LPP community worldwide.

And we will help you to safely continue to connect in every way that is possible under our current circumstances. Coronavirus recommendations and restrictions shift from day to day. But good, solid empathic thinking and coordination with your coach can always find daylight. There are always areas and ways in which you can expand your horizons — not necessarily in crowds or social venues, but that continue to deepen your connections, online or however possible.

We may be a safe social distance away, but we are here for you right now via our LPP platform. Online telehealth is one major way to address the unforeseen increased isolation coronavirus is causing.

There was never a more urgent time to improve our lives, health, and relationships than right now. All of the harm reduction practices that we all we do each day (hour) can literally save lives, not just our own.

We at Life ProcessProgram are here to help.

Be well, wash your hands, practice some social distancing… and reach out if you need support!

Harm reduction saves lives.

The LPP Team

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *