Stay sober and at home during COVID-19 pandemic : Virtual and spiritual toolkits help

by Joseph Hubrich

Editors note: Here at Queer Kentucky, we acknowledge that many LGBTQ+ folx struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. Being cooped up in quarantine can make this struggle a little bit more real for a lot of us. If you are struggling, please reach out. There are tons of organizations here to help you such as The Healing Place and GLAST. We also acknowledge that there is not one single way to get sober and stay sober. The below is one person’s experience, strength and hope. Joe is an openly queer man who works for The Healing Place.

Getting sober and staying sober requires a lot of work on a regular day to day basis. Maintaining the tools of sobriety for me involves step work with my sponsor, a regular twelve step meeting schedule, fellowshipping, and other vital activities. I’ll have four years sober in May and applying these tools has been a game changer in my new life. I won’t maintain a sober mind if I only put down the drink or the drug. I have to do much more.

This has become a huge truth in my story on getting and staying sober. I have to want sobriety more than I want the “thing” I’m addicted to.  My addiction had me in isolation for years and the freedom from that trap has been instrumental. So what tools am I using to maintain my sobriety while being asked to “stay home” and practice social distancing? 

I’m maintaining the same morning routine that I would normally do if I was going into the office. I wake up, get my coffee, grab my dog Clyde, pray and meditate. I take Clyde out for his walk and enjoy the silence outdoors for a bit. I send morning commitments to my support group members giving my sobriety date and a strong affirmation that I will stay sober “just for today.” I have breakfast and start checking emails, go over my schedule, and connect with my work family like we would if we were at work. 

I check in with myself hourly and take my “emotional” temperature: Am I afraid, irritable, restless, or discontent?

If so I take the necessary action needed. I call a support group member, or sponsor and discuss the situation. I take the suggestion given and continue with my day. I also attend 12 step meetings throughout the day via ZOOM or

Many twelve step programs have created access to their regular scheduled meetings at the same times through these platforms. I log on or call in and stay connected just like I would if I was at the meeting in person. I speak to my support group and other recovering folks nightly. My sponsor and I talk daily and we know whats going on in each others mind,  spirt and lives. Staying connected in these times is easy and essential to staying sober. When I get stir crazy I go on a run, clean the house, organize, or prioritize my week. Being proactive in stir crazy times creates the energy needed to focus. Turning what i think is a negative into something very positive. 

Being in recovery takes determination and these new stipulations will add difficulty. Spirtual maintenance, principles, and willingness are all required. We are experiencing a time when someone with over fifty years sober has no experience on how to navigate sobriety. What recovering people do have is a strong fellowship of men, women, and children still seeking a recovery solution. The tools that we learned haven’t gone away, they’ve been moved to a different platform as the world goes through this historical moment in time. There is no excuse to not stay sober during these times, resources are at our fingertips and literally one click away.