RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Being isolated or quarantined amid the coronavirus outbreak is keeping people from their regular routines and meetings — that includes some that can be life-saving.
Addiction specialists say support meetings are essential for drug and alcohol recovery.
“I started using at the age of 13 and used pretty much every day until I was 23,” said Joe with Capital Area Narcotics Anonymous.
That decade of drug use spiraled him into a dark place.
“My own behavior had gotten to a point where I was completely demoralized. I was harming the people around me,” he said. “I wasn’t really looking forward to life on a daily basis. I sort of felt like my life was starting to wind down.”
He was institutionalized and introduced to the Narcotics Anonymous program. It changed his life.
“Things I never dreamed I would do in my life, I am doing,” said Joe.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what you look like or how much money you have.
Joe says Narcotics Anonymous meetings have members as young as 15 and as old as 75. Hundreds of people meet weekly in Wake County alone.
“It’s irreplaceable,” said Joe. “We have found there is no parallel to the therapeutic value of one addict sharing their experience with another addict.”
Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak is causing many meetings to be canceled.
“The number one trigger for people to relapse over [is] a sense of loss, so you can imagine that’s what this is,” said Paul Brethen, a certified addiction specialist and the co-founder of SoberBuddy.
SoberBuddy is an online platform for drug and alcohol recovery support. It’s made up of different resources and challenges.
“If you’re having cravings, we’ll have maybe six challenges: thought-stopping techniques, breathing techniques,” said Brethen.
Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous said they’re offering virtual and over-the-phone meetings at this time.
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