“In the absence of support groups, isolation and
emotional distress can be significant triggers to relapse.”

Before the pandemic, navigating recovery had plenty of challenges. A variety of barriers could present themselves at any given moment, but success was contingent upon the ability to show up and do the work. For many, this includes connection and fellowship in the recovery community, and engaging through self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These groups provide safety and security in one’s sobriety. When this is taken away, we are putting an entire community at risk. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed everyday life for all people, but it is especially different for the recovery community while an epidemic is still threatens lives.
“Addiction is a disease that thrives on isolation and shame, with connection and hope as keys to recovery,” says Ramsen Kasha, Chief Executive Officer at Calvary Healing Center. “For those who are dealing with disease during our current pandemic, the one thing that is required to treat their disease is discouraged as it puts them at risk for the pandemic. Additionally, many enter treatment due to consequences of their use. With people not interacting in-person with family, friends or the workplace, the likelihood of consequences decreases, allowing use to continue.”

Alcohol Sales Skyrocket
Alcohol consumption and sales have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. Many news outlets were reporting over 50% increase in sales during the height of the stay-at-home orders issued throughout many states. While it is safer to stay home and minimize the spread of COVID-19, addiction specialists advise to proceed with immense caution.
Professionals warn a major surge of relapse could result. Lorie Sirola, Clinical Director at Calvary Healing Center states, “Relapses generally fuel from feelings of loneliness (isolation), anxiety, loss of social support, and boredom. Recovery and 12 step groups offer a social support network and safe place to heal from emotional, mental and physical wounds. In the absence of these support groups, isolation and emotional distress can be significant triggers to relapse.”
As we continue to social distance, it is no surprise to see the vast rise in telehealth services being offered across the country. For those specifically struggling with substance use disorders, we expect that they pick up the phone, tablet, or computer and connect with professionals to continue treatment. It sounds easy, but for some, this can be extremely difficult. With access to telehealth services continuing, the shift to accepting virtual care is happening. Outcomes are trending in a positive direction. While the pandemic has fostered isolation, it has also generated an enormous amount of innovation and ingenuity.
At Calvary Healing Center in the past three months, telehealth/telemedicine progress has seen great success. This is extremely promising for a community that thrives on in-person gatherings. People who were previously unable to receive services in person due to lack of transportation, living in remote area, medical problems, social and generalized anxiety, childcare, time constraints, etc. can now receive treatment virtually.
Another encouraging development in telehealth services is that clients report being more willing to self-disclose over this platform. Some patients with a history of trauma say they feel more secure sharing and interacting virtually versus face-to-face. This also extends to the family of loved ones struggling with addiction. Regardless of where they may be, services can be easier to coordinate.
Telemedicine has some medical providers streamlining the delivery of their services, which gives patients ease of access to scheduling appointments and minimized wait times. Many patients are now able to receive consults and second opinions from specialist providers.
Whether we like or not, the internet is an integral part of many aspects of our society. The move to telehealth has enabled many patients to become more comfortable with the use of online technology. Once they are over the technological hump, patients are finding ways to improve their mental health through time management, and tackling issues they previously avoided in-person.
“We are here to care for others. That is our job, choice and calling,” said Ramsen Kasha, CEO at Calvary Healing Center. “We understand our community is at risk, but we will be here doing our best to innovate and provide sustainable recovery.”

For more information about Calvary Healing Center visit calvarycenter.com
602-279-1468 or Toll-Free: 480-359-2224
By Barbara Nicholson-Brown