COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — People choosing to live sober told Fox 4 the best way to connect is face-to-face. But right now they can’t because of COVID-19. People like John, a recovering alcoholic says that’s probably the hardest part of their recovery.
“I need to see your emotions. I need to see what you’re saying to me. Through an over the phone conversation, you don’t know what’s going on in my expressions,” he said.
We’re only sharing his first name because he’s in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. He said he relies on the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and AA meetings to stay sober. Most have been canceled due to restrictions of gatherings of 50 plus to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He said he needs to surround himself with people who can relate.
“I have to associate with people just like me, okay. Alcoholics. Some people will not understand some of the things that I say to them,” he said.
He shared the three legacies of aa. Service, unity and recovery. He said the restrictions take away the unity and service he provides to other recovering addicts through meetings, and as a barista at Hazelden’s public shop.
“Without unity and service, you do not get recovery,” he said.
The foundation’s Vice President William Moyers agrees.
“We know that addiction is an illness of isolation and the antidote to it is community,” he said.
As a recovering addict himself, Moyers said those restrictions are no excuse to give up on your sobriety.
“There are still lots of opportunities for people like me and lots of other people to pick up the phone and call another recovering person, to join an online meeting,” he said.
The foundation also has online resources that let you speak to a virtual recovery coach if you recently relapsed. You can download apps if you’re battling opioid addiction or just need some inspiration.
Although it’s not an ideal situation for him, John agrees with the restrictions to keep everyone healthy, and offers his own advice for those recovering.
“Maybe meet at a park or something like that in small groups,” he said.
He also recommended in the rooms, an app that lets you attend local AA meetings virtually.
If you can make it out to a meeting, the foundation suggests avoid holding hands during parts of the meeting that call for it.