Quarantine Creates Challenges for Recovery Community


Wash your hands and day drink, are two very clear messages I am hearing most consistently during the COVID-19 quarantine.

We are given the clear indication that this moment in time will be difficult, and we are not expected to get through it sober.

Zoom virtual happy hours have become a thing. Memes and jokes about day drinking contribute to an air of normalcy. This memorandum was further validated when state and local Health Departments determined that liquor stores are essential and allowed to remain in operation.

It is no surprise that alcohol sales nationwide have increased substantially since stay at home orders were initiated. In a time when we are faced with so many questions, it is concerning to me that the only clear answer is to drink about it. Alcohol is the remedy. Alcohol is the cure. Clean with it, gargle it, drink it, numb with it, COVID-craft a Crown Royal bag into a mask. 

As liquor store doors were being propped wide open, church doors were being closed. Just as people were asked to have faith and find strength in community, church buildings became off limits. Obviously this closure changed the way people worship, and thankfully many churches were able to use a mix of creativity and technology to serve their congregations in a live-streaming capacity or through parking lot services.

While the religious community is able to pivot and will surely bounce back. The inability to meet and gather in church buildings is having a devastating impact on the recovery community.

Church basements and auxiliary spaces are commonly used by AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) groups because they charge little or no rent. Losing access to “the rooms” is devastating for the millions of people who rely on attending meetings as a tool for maintaining their sobriety.

Addiction feeds on isolation, and pardon the bad pun, but quarantine is isolation on crack. Without much warning, or time to prepare, Boom! We are suddenly unemployed or required to work and afraid of what that might mean for our health, and the health of our families. Either way it got really real, really fast.

Suddenly, we are spending most, if not all of our time at home. For many “home” does not imply a safe and supportive atmosphere; for many, home, family of origin and the complicated relationship dynamics therein contribute to addiction.

Calls to the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Helpline have increased almost 900%. You read that right, almost 900%. In 2018 nearly 20 Million of our friends and neighbors were struggling with substance abuse, we know that that number is significantly higher today.

We were already well into a mental health and addiction crisis when this other health crisis hit. As a nation, we will no doubt see and feel the results of the collision of these two monumental crises. The soft reopening of America is not the end of the quarantine, it is the beginning, the beginning of a long and arduous journey of healing and rebuilding.

For many it will start, or restart, with 12 important steps.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Helpline



Rachelle Sorensen-Cox was born in Vernal Utah in 1971, to a poet and an outlaw. She is a beauty school dropout and a Community College Graduate. Rachelle’s resume is a myriad of random and remarkable achievements in a variety of industries including; Radio & Television, Sports Promotion and Production,and Sales. Rachelle currently works as a Customer Service Representative for Public Transit in Asheville, North Carolina. When not spilling her guts on paper, Rachelle enjoys spending as much time as possible with her daughter Soren and working on her tennis game.

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