One-in-five Canadians experience a mental illness or addiction problem and that fact is not going away. Did you know that alcohol is still by far the most common drug used by Canadians and the cost of substance use in Canada has exceeded $38 billion?
For years researchers have known that substance use and mental health disorders have been some of the most complex medical diseases to successfully treat. Today, we combine that with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that our world is facing, and we’ve got a perfect storm that brings on immense uncertainties, fears, anxieties, and concerns. In a time like this, how can we look after ourselves and how can we continue to feel supported and connected? How do we stay social with others while maintaining physical distance?
Now, more than ever, we need to stay connected and feel supported
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 6:30 pm PT, Edgewood hosted its first “Virtual Cake Night.” Nobody was sure what the evening would look like and nobody came in with a lot of expectations. But the message was profound. We are here for each other. Dozens and dozens of people signed in virtually and shared their stories, celebrated personal recovery milestones and felt more connected to one another than they had, for some, in a long time. Alumni from the Maritimes to the West Coast of Canada were represented and seeing all of those smiling, caring faces on our computer screens really inspired us and gave us all a sense of community and connection.
Gratitude. Faith. Trust. Community. Support. Purpose.
The message is clear. We need each other. We need to be heard and we need to have a safe place to honestly acknowledge some of our fears. But more importantly, we need to celebrate our achievements. If you are feeling disconnected or isolated please pick up the phone, call your sponsor, facetime your family, send an email, or join an online support group. There are many options and resources available, but for right now, we want to share some of the courageous messages heard at our recent Virtual Cake Night:
“I was really looking forward to coming to Edgewood in person, so I am very grateful to connect with you all online.”
“I am so grateful for my recovery and having a solid foot on the ground going into this crisis.”
“I’ve been talking to a lot of my peers at Edgewood and I’m so grateful.”
“There is a lot of sadness right now, but there is a lot of gratitude.”
“So grateful to be here. I’m profoundly grateful for Edgewood and zoom and online meetings. But I miss the hugs!”
“I’m thankful everyday for my sobriety – especially today – I feel better prepared to face these uncertainties.”
“I was planning on making my way to the coast for this month’s cake night from Jasper, AB. So I am very glad that this “Virtual Cake Night” is happening. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s great!”
“I’m really glad this meeting is being held this way tonight.”
“My sobriety has really helped me learn how to deal with life on life’s term.”
“We will get through this together – one day at a time.”
The evening concluded in traditional style by reciting the Serenity Prayer. If you haven’t spoken these words in a while, now might be a good time to familiarize yourself with the words of Reinhold Neibuhr.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” —Reinhold Niebuhr
We will continue to offer a Virtual Cake Night for our alumni on the fourth Tuesday of each month for as long as necessary.
In a World of Uncertainties, People Come Together
Canadian celebrities were called upon to help spread the message and encourage Canadians to stay at home to save lives. In tough times it’s nice to know that you can count on Canadian-born actors Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogan to lighten up a situation.
South of the border, Ellen DeGeneres has challenged Michelle Obama to a planking contest while self-isolating and late-night talk show hosts, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert have begun airing episodes from home in an effort to help people feel connected and maybe even put a smile on our faces. Award winning artists John Legend, Neil Young, Chris Martin, Keith Urban, and many more have used their imagination to bring some light, laughter, and love into our homes by performing virtual songs from their own homes.
Elton John has announced that he will be hosting a benefit concert on Sunday night with performers including Alicia Keys, the Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Tim McGraw, and others still to be confirmed. The hour-long concert, where musicians and performers will be singing in their own homes, is set to “pay tribute to the front-line health professionals, first responders, and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their community members and fight the spread of the virus.” This gives us all another great reason to stay home, and best of all, we’ll all have a front row seat. The performance is set to air Sunday, March 29 at 9:00 pm ET.
Challenge Each Other!
Get creative. Join an online class. Smile. Breathe. Think outside of the box. We promise to do the same, so look for some fun, interactive online events coming from EHN Canada in the near future as a way for us to all feel connected. Reach out to one another. Be kind. Check in on each other, and if you are struggling or need support tell someone. We must physically distance ourselves for the safety of all, but we must not socially distance ourselves from one another. We can’t do this alone, and we don’t have to.