As many are saying, this is an unprecedented time. People new in recovery may need to put extra priority on their self-care and sobriety. Even people who have spent years building coping skills in recovery may find themselves unsure how to handle their stress. That is okay. We haven’t lived through anything like this before. For circumstances that feel uncertain and out of our control, meditation is very useful. It provides practice sitting in uncertainty. Sometimes, it simply helps to slow down and breathe. That said, some of us (myself included) may do better with a guide—aka guided meditation. Since a lot of people are currently out of paychecks, several meditation apps are offering free services.
Headspace offers meditations on a large variety of topics, ranging from stress, to focus, to impermanence and change. They also offer basic meditations, articles, and animated videos covering a range of subjects. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve created a series of free meditations. These are all under the category “Weathering the Storm” and are on topics like panic, sleep, and navigating change. They are also offering free Headspace Plus membership —which includes access to their entire library—to healthcare workers.
Simple Habit offers tons of guided meditations on everything from getting over a crush, to separating thoughts and emotions, to the very meta “stop struggling with meditation.” Through the end of April 2020, they are offering free premium memberships to people financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. If this applies to you and you’re interested in a free membership, email them at [email protected] explaining your current circumstances.
Tara Brach is a psychotherapist and meditation teacher with years of experience and study blending the two traditions. For her PhD in clinical psychology, her dissertation was on using meditation to help treat addiction. All the time (not just during the current crisis), her website offers years’ worth of guided meditations and reflections. She recently uploaded both a guided meditation and a talk about the pandemic. I do guided meditations by Tara Brach regularly—she has a soothing voice and presence. They’ve been particularly helpful during this scary time.
Obviously, anxiety and stress are very heightened right now. But pandemics aren’t the only time we have to sit with uncertainty. Getting sober is also about learning to cope with difficult feelings and heightened stress. If you are in recovery, you know you are strong enough to get through this. If you are about to enter recovery, that is the best decision you could have made. Being in active addiction would make this time much harder and more unmanageable. If you are struggling with an addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers is still open and here for you during this difficult time. At our recovery centers across the country, we provide high-quality treatment for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. We will give you the tools you need to thrive in recovery, no matter what is going on in the world around you. To get help, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.