What is Giving Compass?
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Giving Compass' Take:
• More online support systems and programs are becoming available for those battling addiction who usually rely on in-person meetings for stability.
• Isolation can be very difficult for those experiencing addiction. What other support systems can they benefit from during COVID-19?
• Learn about these U.S. based coronavirus and COVID-19 funds and how to make an impact.
Tom Hill is in long-term recovery from addiction. He hasn't used a substance in 27 years and regularly taps into a network of community support and in-person groups to stay abstinent.
But last weekend the local churches that hold those meetings closed to help prevent spread of the coronavirus. Suddenly, Hill knew he'd have to adapt. He sought out online meetings, often hosted via video chat, and found countless others doing the same.
"There are all these people like myself without support group meetings," said Hill. "It has been really amazing."
Solving this problem is more than a personal quest for Hill; he's also senior advisor on addiction and recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health, a nonprofit representing thousands of member organizations that deliver mental health and addiction treatment to patients.
Since COVID-19, the official term for the disease caused by the virus, began spreading in the U.S., people in recovery have faced obstacles to receiving treatment. That includes accessing methadone, which is one medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Patients usually receive a daily dose of methadone by visiting a federally-regulated program, but that became impossible or difficult as public health officials asked residents to stay home and practice social distancing.
"Isolation is a hallmark of addiction," said Hill. "To be isolated in your house, for someone who may be isolated in general, is not a good equation."
Instead, those in recovery should look for opportunities to connect digitally with others going through the same experience. There are at least 15 groups offering online meetings and resources, including Alcoholics Anonymous, In The Rooms, LifeRing, Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, Reddit Recovery, and SoberGrid.
The gatherings typically take place in forums and via video conferencing, though many video meetings are accessible via phone with a dial-in number. The SoberGrid app helps users connect to a peer support network and communicate with others through chat and messaging tools.
Read the full article about those dealing with addiction and substance abuse during coronavirus by Rebecca Ruiz at Mashable.