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COVID Safe Recovery Services in a Virtual World

Following the announcement of new COVID restrictions, indoor gatherings in Virginia are now limited to ten people. COVID has forced all types of businesses to rethink how they provide their services in order to adhere to stricter sanitary standards. The recovery community is no different.

The CDC states that “people who use drugs may have underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” It is important to focus on the health of our community and safety of our services as we help people maintain recovery. The CDC also recommends virtual alternatives for recovery services.

Vox reports that in the beginning of the pandemic treatment programs were able to take advantage of relaxed regulations to provide their resources virtually. One added benefit of a virtual environment is that the recovery community has been able to overcome geographical barriers that in-person resources could not. SAARA’s daily peer recovery meetings transitioned into virtual meetings at the beginning of the pandemic and now include individuals in recovery from across the entire state of Virginia.

New to virtual meetings? Here are some tips for joining SAARA's recovery meetings:

  • You don’t need to download anything (but you can if you want), you can join most virtual meetings through your browser

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up! Unmute yourself by looking for a microphone button somewhere on the screen

  • You don’t need to turn on your camera if you don’t feel comfortable doing so

  • Don't have a computer? Ask for the dial-in information

  • Try finding a quiet space to focus on the meeting if possible. If not possible, mute yourself so others do not hear the background noise

Across the country other recovery centers are following suit. Recovery groups including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have moved to virtual meetings in replace of in-person meetings. The Seattle Times investigated AA members across many states and all came to the same conclusion: that online recovery services are not the same as in person support, but they are still extremely important to individuals in recovery during these times of extended periods of isolation.

With the holidays right around the corner, people in recovery could face potentially triggering experiences that are challenging to their sobriety. On top of our regular peer meetings, SAARA is hosting a holiday and COVID focus recovery meeting December 19th, starting at 11:00am on Zoom. Join the meeting to hear from our experienced Peer Recovery Specialist team and learn tools to navigate recovery the holidays this year. Register for free here.

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