Addiction recovery programs find new ways to offer support in pandemic

Good News Notes:

At 49, Stephen Deason, of Sandy SpringsGeorgia, is now 5-and-a-half years sober.

“Recovery has kind of given me an amazing life, and I’m really happy for that,” the non-profit founder says. “Five years in is where they often tell you things start to clear up, and that’s definitely true.”

Still, Deason says, the last year has been challenging for people who are in recovery.

“What the pandemic did, is, it drove a really harsh wedge in our ability to connect with each other on an individual level,” he says. “So, we had to figure as a community, really quickly, how do we use Zoom?”

In-person support group meetings emptied out, going digital.

Some members moved outdoors, or they sat 6-feet apart, wearing masks.

“But there’s a big part of the recovery community that is about sitting down with somebody and having a cup of coffee, or sitting on the porch, when you’re early on, smoking cigarettes and talking about your day and the troubles you’re having,” Deason says. When those things are taken away, you know, it’s hard to feel close to somebody, when you’re 7, 8, 9 feet away from them.”

The pandemic has also been challenging for the company Brad Baker co-founded, Creekside Recovery Residences, which operates 3 sober living houses in Atlanta, where people coming out of inpatient treatment centers stay 3 or 4 months before going home.

Baker says they realized their clients might be uncomfortable about sharing a home with strangers in the middle of a pandemic.

“We had to adapt to the times,” Baker says. “So, we created an adaptive sober program, where you would go through everything that you go through if you were living in our sober house, but you can live in your own home……”

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