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Addiction recovery meetings go virtual during coronavirus outbreak

Mark L. Rose says with social distancing going to a meeting is not an option, but adds the support is still there virtually.

SEATTLE — Social distancing means for those in addiction recovery, going to a meeting isn’t an option right now due to the coronavirus.

“It is changing things quite rapidly,” said Mark Rose, an intervention and substance abuse specialist in Seattle.

Rose knows what some are going through firsthand.

“I got sober about 20 years ago and I’ve been in recovery for that amount of time,” he said.

Rose said virtual meetings are already happening in response to the virus.

“AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] meetings, Narcotics Anonymous, they have moved all online everyone’s had to adjust, but they’re still getting that support,” he said.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports more than 88,000 people die in the United States from alcohol-related causes each year. Washington state averages nearly three deaths for every 100,000 people.

“Doing this work in person, getting that support from men/women and support groups is one of the best ways for us to stay in recovery,” Rose said.

Rose said the stress of losing a job due to the closures from the coronavirus, and the added anxiety and break in structure can make recovery difficult.

“I think having a routine is what sober support is based a lot on,” Rose said.

And one of the most important things for those struggling with addiction, Rose said, is to stay in contact.

“Whether it's their counselor, therapist, their sober support group, just staying connected is the best thing we can do,” Rose said.

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