• Kerenza Ryan

COVID and Relapses

Most people will admit that COVID-19 has come with problems such as feeling isolated and increased stress. This is heightened in people with substance use disorders, as many of the people in their life (whether family and friends or support groups) are no longer able to be seen face to face. There’s a common phrase originally said by Johann Hari, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection”. If connection is a major part of what keeps people sober, what can be done to help people struggling currently?

Fortunately, there are some options to stay connected. For one, many support groups are beginning to have online or telephone meetings. When people are struggling and don’t have such support, In The Rooms has a number of online meetings over video. Most of the online meetings are 12-step oriented (not all), but it is a start to finding people who also struggle with addiction.

It can also be smart to still reach out to people who have helped in the past. If family, friends, and recovery partners were helpful in the past, they are most likely to be helpful now as well, whether by phone or video call. There are ways to set up video calls on various platforms.

This is also a chance to reach out to new people, particularly if they are in recovery. This can be a chance to make connections where there were just base level conversations. By widening a support circle, there can be help even when the pandemic is over. One positive thing about having to talk on the phone or over video chat is that there has to be talking, unlike in person events where people watch movies together or focus on food. With calls, it can be awkward to be quiet. However, if people still would like to watch movies and such together, there are platforms to do that as well.

Clearly connection can be found despite the pandemic. It may not look the same, and at times it may even feel unsatisfying, but it is important to make an effort, even if it’s just a few times a week. We will get through this together.

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