• Derrick Jenkins

Seeking Help Online During COVID-19: TIPS

The COVID-19 outbreak has had other implications for people recovering from substance use.

“In addition to increased triggers, there are also a limited number of treatment providers that are still accepting new patients,” said Coffey. “If an individual wants help, where can they go? The hospitals are overloaded and treatment availability is limited.” Many in the field said treatment centers and support groups will likely see an uptick in people needing help.

- Alcoholics Anonymous has a web page devoted to online options, including Zoom and Google Hangouts. - Narcotics Anonymous provides similar information on its website. -Joi Honer, the national alumni director for Pinnacle Treatment Centers, offered suggestions on social distancing for those with substance use disorder in a blog on the centers’ website.

“Talking to a person, hearing a voice, offers more of a connection than sending a text or Facebook message,” Honer told Healthline. “Voices can be soothing at a time like this. Consider FaceTime, Zoom, or any other kind of video chat interface that allows us to see each other in conversation, not just hear. It creates a higher level of contact.”

Trying something new.

It’s also a great time to start a project or a new hobby.

Movement is a great tool in recovery,” said Coffey. “No better way to get out of your head and into something with your hands. It also adds value to your day, which will reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. One amazing project we completed at our treatment center was a garden. It became a construction project. The beauty of gardening is that it needs constant love and attention to flourish. It also gives a great sense of accomplishment with each harvest.”

Forrest said a crisis shutting people into their homes in 2020 offers opportunities. “There’s a 21st century way now of having a relationship, instead of having a relationship with traffic,” he said. “You have to have interactions with people you have a kinship with. For all we say about social media, it can bring people together. 


Bob Forest, co-founder of Alo House Recovery Centers and known from TV's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew"

Lori Coffey, LSW, LCADC, national director of operations for Footprints to Recovery treatment centers

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