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The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Recovery Community

Since the stay at home orders have been put in place, recovering addicts and alcoholics have faced MAJOR changes in their journeys. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction relied heavily on in-person Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step recovery meetings.

A main focus of recovery in the 12-step community is connection with both a higher power and other alcoholics and addicts. Lots of meetings are now using tools such as Zoom to spread the message of hope.

An article by Nicole Sganga points out how not only have meetings moved online, but many residential programs treating alcoholism and addiction have closed their doors to new patients. Moreover, the programs that have stayed open are seeing a new high in intakes and are scrambling to meet the safety guidelines recommended by the CDC.

Liberty Bay Recovery Center in Portland, ME is one of the drug and alcohol treatment centers that is staying open and currently accepting new admissions.

Despite more people searching for treatment, concern HAS to be raised about the people who rely on medically assisted treatments for drug addiction. Many centers that offer medically assisted treatment, such as methadone clinics, have closed leaving recovering addicts who usually go to them at high risk of relapsing, and possibly overdosing.

With new social distancing measures, isolation can be another cause for relapse amongst alcoholics and addicts.

A blog posted by Timmen L. Cermak discusses how isolation can be a tempting proponent in someone’s active addiction. Often, alcoholics and drug addicts try to hide their addictions. When exposed, they isolate from family and friends in order to get away from criticism. For someone in early recovery or active addiction, isolation can look like a great time to drink and use without the judgement of others.

In addition, it is no help that all around the world, addicts and alcoholics are losing easy access the places they can go to for help and support. Many meetings have moved to different online formats. Instead of people being able to walk into recovery centers at various times of the day to find a meeting, now people must search for web formats. Although the online meetings consist of the same message that was told at an in person meeting, many people are having difficulties with them.

On top of not being able to stay present because of the distraction of being in your own home, and following meeting guidelines has also become harder. At in-person meetings you are held accountable by the people around you and it is much easier to stay present.

Although these times are hard, it is important for those in recovery to know that help is still there. Online formatting may prove difficult at times, but the positives outweigh the negatives.

As a recovering alcoholic myself, I know that I can always reach out to a fellow 12-stepper. Moreover, I schedule my days, implement different self care routines, and stay in contact with my support system. Even though we may be separate right now, know that connection is still there.

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