The wisdom contained in the Serenity Prayer is more apropos now than ever amidst the public health crisis facing us all. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It is no wonder that the serenity prayer starts with acceptance and the first of the 12 steps start with an honest admission of powerlessness. From a stance of acceptance and powerlessness, people stop fighting, pushing back, striving to control and manipulate a particular outcome, acknowledging that it is futile. Acceptance of powerlessness frees us up to focus on where we actually have choice and power, and allows us to devote our energies to those areas.
We cannot control what tomorrow will bring, we cannot control what other people do, we cannot control how the COVID-19 virus behaves. But we can choose what precautions we will take, how much or little we will adhere to social (read physical) distancing. We can decide how much help we are willing to stay connected to in ways that are safe in our current environment. And even these choices are only choices up to a certain extent–to the extent that a person is operating with a fully functioning brain. When our brains are hijacked by mental illness and/or addiction, what might seem on the surface as a choice to behave in a certain way is sometimes not a choice at all. A hijacked brain is not free, and does not have choice. A hijacked brain is enslaved. The only real choice becomes whether or not to seek help.
There are people all over the world suffering with skyrocketing rates of anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction and eating disorders. Social distancing, while necessary for the unforeseeable future, has an impact on depression, anxiety, abandonment trauma, eating disorder and addiction. Now more than ever people with pre-existing mental illness and addiction whether in recovery for decades, two days or not at all, need support and non-face-to-face ways to stay in connected. Build on and start new daily disciplines focused on self care first and foremost. Focus on your recovery, so that with your oxygen mask on you can be of service to those around you. Continue to engage in prayer/mindful thought and meditation to improve your connection with a loving Higher Power.
People who have known addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and trauma know isolation and loneliness. Shelter in place and physical distancing from others does not need to equate with isolation, loneliness or emotional distancing. Stay socially and spiritually connected, just at a physical distance.
Practice what you know works: rely on your Higher Power to strengthen and guide you, remain in close relationship with people who support you, and above all, continue to participate and contribute to meetings and support groups. Even done remotely, community still has potency and power.
The name SunCloud is predicated on a straight-forward dialectic. The sun and clouds coexist above the earth. Even when dense clouds are present, the sun is always there. In the midst of a storm, the clouds dominate our vision. We lose sight of the sun, but when we get quiet, we know it is still there. Inevitably, it’s rays will begin to peek around the edges of the clouds, and once the storm passes, the sun will re-emerge fully.
We are all in this together. We are here to support you. We may not be able to hold your hand or place a comforting arm around your shoulder, but if you have an honest desire for help, we will figure out a way to provide help.