Economic shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have changed the way we access mental health and addiction recovery services. Here are ways that you can access addiction recovery resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
12-Step Programs are Virtual
It used to be that if a person had a substance abuse problem, they would look up the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12-step program, to find local meetings. The vast majority of meetings were face-to-face.
Because of stay-at-home orders, most 12-step groups have moved their meetings to online formats. Zoom links and passwords can be found by looking up one’s preferred 12-step program. On the program’s website, you will find a list of virtual meetings. Most groups also have an informational phone number. These phone lines, staffed by volunteers, will give information on how to find an online meeting, or a face-to-face meeting if one is active.
One of the benefits of virtual 12-step meetings is that one has access to a meeting anywhere in the world, any time of the day or night. Reach out for help right from the comfort of your home.
Detox Services are Available
Though hospitals are filling at an alarming rate, detox services are often provided at facilities that are not full-scale hospitals. Many addiction rehabilitation facilities provide detox services. Contact these facilities for assistance, especially if you are using alcohol or benzodiazepines. Even during the pandemic, a medical detox is available to assist with the overcoming the worst detoxification symptoms. You don’t have to suffer through detox.
Residential Treatment Facilities are Open
Addiction treatment is considered an essential medical service. Residential facilities are open and many have beds available. Residential treatment may be optimal during the pandemic, because being at a residential facility limits the number of people one comes in contact with.
Being in a residential facility will provide structure and support for your addiction treatment. Residential rehabs have a full complement of therapeutic services and have Covid-19 mitigation procedures in place.
Outpatient programs are also available, and many have moved to providing virtual services.
Recovery Coaching and Sober Companion Services are Available
Pandemic or not, many people require additional supportive services, more than a sponsor in a 12-step program or a therapist can provide. Getting yourself additional support can be a key component to improving treatment outcomes.
Recovery coaches are individuals who provide mentoring support. They offer structure and accountability to people who are early in recovery or have particular obstacles they want to overcome. Recovery coaches are more accessible than a therapist, usually meeting with clients 2-3 times a week, and often support the work a client does with a therapist. Recovery coaches work virtually and on specific issues identified with the client. They can be a great relapse prevention support.
Sober companions are individuals who often live-in with an individual to provide 24/7 support. Sober companions may travel or live with people who are unable to go to a traditional residential rehab facility. During the pandemic, sober companions can help people structure their days so that they overcome the temptation to have drugs or alcohol delivered to the home. Like recovery coaches, sober companions provide intensive support and an example of what healthy recovery looks like.
Accessing Telehealth Psychological Services
Many therapists have begun providing psychological services in a telehealth format. Your insurance provider will have a list of qualified providers who offer telehealth services. One advantage of using an in-network telehealth mental health provider is cost. Check with your insurance provider to find out what your telehealth options are for mental health. Alternatively, if there’s a specific provider you like, ask if they provide telehealth services and at what cost.
Check Out Free or Low-Cost Online Supplemental Recovery Services
In addition to 12-step programs, there are nonprofit and community groups that provide free or low-cost (often donation-based) mental health services to the community. Some have expanded services to meet mental health needs caused by the pandemic and associated social isolation. Meditation, breathwork, yoga, and more are available. Whether private sessions or community groups, there are outlets to help you connect with others and stabilize your mental health. Remember to take into account time zone differences for groups that meet live.
If you prefer, there are apps you can download to lead you in everything from meditation to tai chi.
While some groups are specific to veterans, youth, or other demographics, others are open to the general public. All you need to do is an online search and see what piques your interest.