Addiction, Treatment and Recovery during COVID 19 Pandemic.

My name is John and I am an ……

Fill in the blanks during these surreal yet dangerous times. During this pandemic, a word I believe most don’t fathom, those struggling with addiction haven’t been protected by social distancing. On the contrary, I believe their own demons have become even more blaring to their loved ones and themselves. Having been sober for nearly 20 years I can, unfortunately, identify with the despair some are going through. 

Not even a week ago on a Friday evening, I sat outside my home indulging in a cigar. I live in a diverse middle – an upper-middle-income town in New Jersey not to far outside of NYC. Out of nowhere, three police cars pulled up with no lights, no sirens and weapons drawn. For a moment I thought a little peculiar and perhaps one of my neighbors didn’t like the cigar I was smoking or I was being arrested for breaking curfew! Politely the officer asked if I lived in my home as I answered they surrounded my neighbor’s home!  Guns were drawn they approached the home and spoke to the woman that answered. I knew one of the cops who later told me they were suspecting the woman’s son was dealing heroin out of the home. The officer who I know even joked that working in the addictions field and being sober I should have notice these things. 

It was then that this struck me, alcoholics have liquor stores, but addicts need to get their drugs illegally even during these times.  There are no set hours. Now those of us in the drug and alcohol treatment world along with law enforcement know that the drug dealing business has changed in the last 2 decades. Mobile devices have allowed drugs to be delivered as easy as Uber Eats. No longer do individuals have to venture to the wrong side of the tracks to get their fix. But during a time of a social distancing, business curfews and in some town curfews why would someone be out at 1030 PM on a Saturday night? The officer explained the tip came from 2 different individuals who they pulled over late at night , or at least late at night during these times. Hence the stake out and raid.

The sad reality is this, Alcoholics and Addicts are masters of isolation and survival. Irrational drug runs or trips to the liquor store are norms.  Anything to get the fix and not have to do deal with reality. To put it in perspective and keeping politics aside, the estimates for COVID-19 deaths will total somewhere around 65-70 K . In 2017 over 70K Americans died due  to opioid and addiction-related deaths! 

Process that for a moment. Even those of us in the recovery world has had to adapt with online 12 step recovery meetings, our support systems have become virtual. Eerily putting us back into a place of isolation. But for those suffering from active addiction. It’s like being locked in a cage. 

Working with many rehabs throughout the country a surprising trend is happening, both east coast and west coast, people Are still seeking treatment. Addiction hasn’t taken a break. 

If you suspect a loved one has  a problem, check in on them if they are alone. If they are with you, you’ll unfortunately know. Especially those with heroin addiction. There are detoxes and treatment centers all over the country helping people get sober during these times. There are enough health risks right now. Both are equally deadly. 

Some signs to look for will be excessive sleeping, Track marks anywhere on their bodies,  nodding out, excessive irritation, drinking as soon as they wake, sweats and tremors. 

Please feel free to call or email me, all correspondence will be kept confidential.

John F. Moriarty III is personally sober since October 2000 and the Founder/CEO of Sober Consultants LLC.   A leading provider of Recovery Coaching, Interventions And treatment placement for those in need. In addition, they provide business optimization and digital marketing services to treatment providers in the addictions field throughout the country.

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