As we continue social distancing, reaching out is more important than ever. We have to make a conscious effort to stay connected. Thankfully, we have the technology to do a lot. I have been scheduling video calls in advance, like I would normal social plans. When I’m looking ahead to another week in a pandemic and have multiple plans, it gives me something to look forward to. It also provides a sense of normalcy. Some sober friends and I recently put together a video call sober happy hour. On a recent Saturday night, a bunch of friends who are musicians played an Instagram Live show. Like in a normal show, each act had a designated time to play. Audience members would go to each act’s page at that time and watch their set. Because it was live, anyone watching could see who joined and commented. Later, I got a text from a friend saying it was nice to “see” me at the show. It felt closest to the experience of watching live music with friends as it could get. If you like seeing live music, look up a favorite musician and see if they are doing an online performance. A lot of musicians and other artists are using features like Instagram Live to promote their work and connect to an audience. I’ve seen many authors who are using the feature to do readings, too. You can even video chat with friends while you all watch the performance together. Or, you can do what my friends did and create your own show. You can also celebrate holidays and birthdays through video. My niece recently had her fifth birthday party on Zoom, hosted by a kid’s musician. She loved it. On Passover, I video chatted with my family while I ate dinner. On Easter, my partner did the same with her family. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, you can try to plan something with them. My block has a weekly outdoor, six-feet-apart hangout. Neighbors are a great source of community, especially now—it’s easiest for people in the same neighborhood to share resources and help each other. If you don’t know your neighbors, now is a good time to get to know them. Neighbors are the most local of local community. If you like the outdoors, you can still meet up with a friend or two and walk or hike together, as long as you keep six feet apart. This has the triple benefit of providing a sense of community, fresh air, and exercise. Pick something you like doing with other people (that’s not drinking or using) when it’s not a pandemic and see if there’s a way to recreate it, either through technology or just being outside. If we’re learning anything positive from this experience, it’s that humans are creative and resourceful. You don’t have to wait until you find something that feels exactly the same, though. Things are going to feel different. But it doesn’t mean it can’t create a similar feeling of connection and community. If you are struggling to get or stay sober during this unprecedented time, Amatus Recovery Centers is open and here for you. We are using third-party, hospital-grade sanitization services, and telemedicine services, to make sure you feel safe coming in for treatment. At our addiction treatment centers across the country, our compassionate staff will help you build the tools to thrive in long-term recovery. To find out more, call and admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.