COVID-19 outbreak can cause harm to recovering addicts

The closing of drug and alcohol abuse meetings during this COVID-19 outbreak has some who are in recovery feeling they are going it alone. That’s one of the last things someone recovering from substance abuse should feel, alone and unsupported.

"There is hope,” smiles Amelia Murphy and she should know. Amelia was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to an alcoholic mother. Then she began abusing alcohol at just 13 years old.

"It started with alcohol and went through every substance you could name from marijuana to pills,” she said.

If your alcohol or substance abuse recovery meeting has been canceled due to COVID-19, Amelia can relate.

"You have to have someone that you can trust to help you go through this," she said.

That support may now be via video chat.

"I’m doing teletherapy right now with a lot of clients,” explains Dr. Marcia Baker with Houston’s Santa Maria Hostel.

She also says many groups are doing the same.

"There are AA meetings online. There are NA meetings online," she said.

Amelia, who became a teen mom and lost her kids due to addiction, says you should also know your triggers.

"I was on probation with Harris County and I completed successfully and they wanted to release me during Christmas and I said, 'No, no, no, no because this is the time that I really drink,'" she said. "I knew that wouldn’t be safe for me."

Dr. Baker says the stress of the country’s current state could be particularly harmful to a recovering addict.

“That relapse potential is pretty high right now," she said.

Amelia's been sober 29 years. She has reconnected with her sons and is a Recovery Coach for Santa Maria Hostel. She wants to encourage anyone struggling to stay sober to not go back to "a death sentence”.

Instead, she says someone once asked her a question that still helps. 

"I never will forget that. The question is do you want to live?” Amelia wants you to reach out to her if you’re having trouble staying sober during these difficult times.

She can be reached at 281-745-8532.

Dr. Baker is also encouraging you to practice your recovery techniques, to lean on your sponsor and there are treatment programs accepting people who need emergency help. Serenity Light Recovery is one of them. You can also call 211 the United Way Hotline to find an online or video chat program.