Covid 19 and Recovery

Covid-19 is unprecedented and almost the whole world currently has some form of shelter in place. With the stay-at-home, social distancing requirements, and people not allowed congregating in one place, there is tremendous strain to those with mental health issues and those seeking recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.

According to an NPR report, addiction is considered a “disease of isolation”, says Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

Apart from the fact that people in recovery need their community’s support to stay strong and continue in successful recovery towards healthier lives, there are other challenges specific to this group that we should be paying attention to:

Covid 19 and immunity: Weakened Immunity for people in recovery

People in recovery also have an added risk in the fact that they have a weakened immunity due to very high rates of nicotine addiction and smoking, and high rates of chronic lung disease, says Dr. Peter Friedmann, president of the Massachusetts Society of Addiction Medicine. “This put these folks at a higher risk for respiratory complications of this virus”, hence much-needed care. The CDC has provided the guidelines for care . The addicted and those recovering have a compromised immunity where covid 19 and immunity have a high risk relationship. This guidelines should be followed more rigorously.

Anxiety and stress

The added stress and anxiety from the shelter in place, including the added financial uncertainty is a great concern for the recovery process.

According to the CDC, the fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children and how we respond to the Pandemic depends mostly on our background, what makes us different from other people and also where and who we live with, our community.

Among the people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis are those who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use.

Recovery meetings: lifeline during the pandemic

According to Kenny Pomerance, who co-founded the online recovery community “In the Rooms” reminds us that the recovery meetings are a lifeline during the pandemic. Most of the people, especially those who are early on in the recovery may be at risk of relapse when they are required to miss meetings due to the fear of Coronavirus.

One of the leading global support program is the 12 Step and other similar recovery programs found at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

These meetings include people congregating in one place, holdings handsand being very close. All the things that are prohibited with the Covid-19 social distancing. Hence, the COVID-19, has made this very difficult and nearly impossible in most areas.

How to Cope with Shelter in Pace

Most AA groups globally have set in alternative plans due to the lack of in-person meetings. For those already with a group, most groups have developed the groups contact lists and maybe able to meet online or by the phone. But if you are newer in recovery and not affiliated with a group, AA has online meetings where members can provide and receive information. This is both locally and international.

Smart Recovery, is another strong resource for those in recovery. This site hosts over 2000 meetings in the USA alone and they are also available globally. If you would be interested in one in your area, you can search by downloading a list provided on the SMART website.

In Patient facilities

Almost everywhere globally, the treatment centers are considered essential and most treatment centers remain open. The Intake for the new patients is still going on in most but rigorous testing, hygiene and modified requirement as issued by local authorities are in place.

In the USA for example, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is quickly addressing and creating evolving policies about how patients receive services and medicine. For detailed information on the evolving changes and resources, check here.

In most other regions that I’m aware of, like PCC recovery center in Kenya, most facilities have kept their doors open and the national drug and addiction bodies are keeping up with updates and guidance on the process and guidance for coping with covid-19 while still providing services.

If you or a loved one require clinical intervention, Coved-19 should not interfere with your intake. However, check with the facilities to make sure that they are up to date with the quickly changing policies to protect their clients.


Even though the Coved-19 poses a lot of challenges and unprecedented areas, while we wait for the world to contain the spread, there are still many resources for support and information for people struggling with addiction.

Recovery that does not require clinical intervention where free and continuing support is needed, online meetings and services are recommended. See below for some resources

SMART Recovery, an evidence-based (versus spirituality-based)

Recovery Dharma: mindfulness-oriented recovery support organization

AA: Adult children of alcoholics

In the Room: Database with comprehensive calendar of online recovery support meetings and events, and support apps.

AA: Alcoholic Anonymous

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  1. thank you for sharing this article. this article was much needed. in some minutes i am able to gather many information about corona virus. i really think this article should be shared more and more. all the suggestion and tips are really useful.  we should follow a good diet and consume healthy food for our immune system. thus this virus will not be able to attack us.  rater than this our hygiene should be maintained properly. as this virus base is made o acid so only soap can prevent ot. we should wash our hands properly and avoid touching sensitive areas.

    i will surely share this article to my social media accounts so that other people can know about it too.

  2. This deadly disease is really threatening the world…I could tell that of am the corona viruses that has evolved over the past decades covid19 is really the worst….As of today over 4000 lives have been lost to this epidemic and more are likely to go if precautions are not put in place….I guess only God can help us now

    • Hi Evans, indeed, only God can help us. But we should also do the little we can do. Wash our hands, stay home if we can and watch out for each other. 

  3. Very interesting post you have shared here and I must say that this is great to see and thank you so much for sharing here. Personally, I feel that the covid19 is really killing us due to lack of proper immune and strong health system. Concerning the recoveries and the rate, it still feels a bit down troden for now though. However, I look forward to something better

  4. Thank you so much for sharing a beautiful and insightful article with us. The prime element of this article is social isolation and addiction covid-19-and recovery. It is truly impressive that you covered this subject so well in your post. I’ve learned a lot from reading your article and developed a lot of knowledge about it. I like Recovery meetings: lifeline during the pandemic of the points mentioned in your article. Today we must maintain social distance to protect the covid-19and we must all take some steps to maintain this social distance as I did. I’m meeting with everyone online to maintain social distance and work under Smart Recovery.
    I’ve read your article and enjoyed it so I’d like to share it with my friends by sharing it in the Facebook community so that everyone knows about your article and gets to know it.

    • Thank you Astraful for the response. I’m glad to hear you are working under SMART. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Those that have been heavy smokers in the past but have thankfully recovered are still a crowd in high risk due to the nature of this virus and how it causes respiratory complications. There are important points here how to understand beloved ones that now have to cope with anxiety because of the isolation. Thank for this post.

  6. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your guide and find it very helpful for everyone.
    At that time people around the world are facing the same problem that Covid-19. I have a great interest in knowing about the recovery of this issue. This is a great online article. After reading this article I got to know and learn and many things. By reading this article I got every important point about Covid-19. After reading this article I have decided I will try to follow your tips and struggling with addiction. I have benefited greatly from reading this article and have learned many things. I think who reads this article will greatly benefit.

    Once again, Thanks for your help and suggestion. I will share the post with others. 😊

  7. You are right, stress, anxieties happen when comes to the crisis in life. The pandemic has affected many lives, including my family in Malaysia. My father and brother can only work from home, glad that they can. My friend’s business deals are canceled. Nobody allows to work, to have meetings, discussions outside due to the lockdown. To me, nothing is more important than avoiding getting sick and ill during this pandemic period. Thanks for providing enough information for reference, I appreciate it.

  8. Now, I can really tell that this is a good post. I should first commend the input of effort in making this superb website with nice features and also writing an article on covid 19 and its effects. it is important now that we maintain social distance so as to stop the spread of the corona virus.

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