CBS News photo (In this March 27, 2020 photo, Garrett McIntyre, left, arrives to pick up medication for opioid addiction at a clinic in Olympia, Wash., that is currently meeting patients outdoors and offering longer prescriptions in hopes of reducing the number of visits and the risk of infection due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus.) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-the-coronavirus-is-hurting-drug-and-alcohol-recovery/
Eric sounds like he is forcing himself to be cheerful as I check on him on the phone. He is a person I have talked through my website with and helped him get into Recovery a couple of years ago. Worried about the effect the lockdown would have on him, I gave him a call. "I'm doing alright. Isolation breeds depression. But, I am hanging in there. I miss the support I get from my friends at meetings but there are some online. It's not always the same because you can't speak as much and you don't have those little conversations on the side or before and after groups."
Eric says he has not had the temptation to use but he does know of a couple of friends who have battled the urge to relapse. "It's tough when you are surrounded by bad news. My friend got laid off from his job at a local restaurant. I have talked to him some. He thinks about relapse but tells me he has not yet. It is tough when the future looks so iffy."
With the lockdown, some are spending more time with their families and that can cause some stress. Eric says, "It can be hard when you feel like someone doesn't trust you or they are waiting for you to crack. Families are a great means of support but they can add stress as well. when you are confined with someone that you have not spent a lot of time with lately, it can be hard. Families don't always understand the demons we battle. Boredom and the doom and gloom of the news can have negative effects as well."
CBS News did a story "How the coronavirus is hurting drug and alcohol recovery" From the article, "Ashley Drew works as a criminal justice case manager for a recovery center in New Hampshire. The past few weeks have brought back memories of her heroin addiction."
"I'm a little over four years clean and sober," she said. "And I feel like I'm back to my grassroots on the very early stages." Establishing a great life, routed in routines and work-life balance aided her recovery. "However, this life that we're currently living is significantly different than the one I was just living."
"Boredom, stress, anxiety, all of those feelings" — Drew said the outlets once readily available to tackle those feelings have vanished. Luckily, online programs and support groups have helped to fill the gap.
The virus is also effecting recovery through recovery houses. Justin Ponton, a leader in Recovery in Huntington, WV and director of Newness of Life Recovery House posted on Facebook: "The fear of men and women being in a compromising situation due to Covid-19 and the effects it is having on programs such as ours, has me working up to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week at a separate job. I have no clue how we will meet finances and to keep us running. Many of our men and women are either laid off, fired or unable to seek employment due to the statewide order to stay at home."
Therapists and doctors are using the phone and computers to keep in contact with their patients and have a positive effect. Federal officials have decided to allow patients to take methadone home with them. Support groups are forming online for extra encouragement and guidance.
Eric says, "You just have to find what works to you. If you check what is important to you everyday and your recovery is one of those things high on your list, then you can find a way to weather this storm, because this isn't going to last forever. So if you are battling this...remember that and just stay positive...an clean."