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'I cannot do it alone' | Recovering alcoholic speaks on staying sober through the coronavirus

For those battling addiction, access to support groups is pivotal. As stay at home orders prevent gatherings, there is now a virtual alternative to stay connected.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As states across the country move to higher degrees of isolation to prevent the spread of coronavirus, people suffering from addiction are losing access to the groups that help prevent a relapse. 

"For my recovery, I cannot do it alone," said Tim, a volunteer with Metrolina Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). "I can only do it through the support of others who are also in recovery."

Due to the privacy concerns of AA, he asked that WCNC Charlotte conceal his last name.

"The particular meeting that I go to, that facility is closed because of the precautions," Tim said.

Tim says as a recovering alcoholic, when his facility shutdown - he did too.

"My initial reaction was to withdraw from all of it, to throw up my hands and be frustrated by the requirements of this pandemic," Tim said.

Tim says those suffering with addiction are incredibly reliant on groups to stay sober.

"I'm now working from home," Tim said. "It's easier when I'm just by myself to not tell someone, 'Hey I'm not feeling exactly right.'"

Recently, stress and COVID-19 seem to come hand in hand.

"Am I going to continue to be able to work?" Tim questioned, "Am I going to continue to be able to pay my bills? It can become so overwhelming, my go-to solution for many years was to drink."

Now thanks to technology, Tim says Metrolina Intergroup is now providing an alternative.

"We now have online alternatives to keep our disease at bay," Tim said.

"I think that's the most important thing as folks are going through this stressful time, is staying in contact," said Mackie Johnson, director of clinical services at Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center.

Johnson says maintaining support contact and finding a routine are the best ways to prevent a relapse.

"If you don't maintain a routine often times folks will start neglecting sleep, or they'll be sleeping too much, eating," Johnson said. "That can lead to people have depression." 

Johnson says your routine should include going to sleep, eating, and exercising around the same time every day so you get the proper amount.

For anyone who needs addiction support, Metrolina Intergroup's 24-hour support line is 704-332-4387. For information about online meetings, visit their website: charlotteaa.org.

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