COVID-19 has presented many challenges for those in recovery. Below is a post from our very own Per Hagen that explains one of those challenges and how it’s affected him personally.

My name is Per and I am in long term recovery. What that means to me is I have been substance free since October 16, 2010. My life has completely changed from that day. I have peace and freedom in my life, and I am able to participate in my local recovery community.

I have been a part of many different support groups over the past ten years. I wound up choosing a home group that made sense to me. I have found many other things that are vital to my recovery: exercise, nature, music, and volunteering. My chosen recovery program and support groups have been the foundation of my life.

Recently, with the COVID pandemic, the support groups which I rely on to maintain my recovery have faced some challenges. I can only speak of my experience, there have been different stories with each individual support group.

The first obstacle we faced was the church that rents us space to run our meetings closed its doors abruptly. We had no local meetings at all for a period of time. Because of the other activities I use to support my recovery, I was able to lead some small group hikes and recovery meetings with like-minded people. These were wonderful but not everyone in my home group can participate in hiking.

The second obstacle we faced was technology. Shortly after the church closed its doors, some volunteers from my home group started virtual recovery meetings online. These meetings are helpful but not everyone in my home group could participate in these. Some struggle with the technology and others feel they are not the same as face to face support.

We are now facing a whole new challenge! Our local community has gone “green”. What does that mean to my home group and local recovery community? We are trying to figure that question out. The church has reopened, and we are able to use the space again however, there are many new restrictions and obstacles. We have a limit on the number of people allowed in the room due to distancing guidelines, we may now have a person-counter at the door and when we hit our limit people will be turned away. What will we do with the people turned away? We may run a virtual meeting at the same time and have a “hybrid” meeting. We will need cleaning and sanitizing materials available and a designated cleaner. We will not be allowed to congregate outside, and people must be 6 feet away from each other.

These are strange times with lots of unknowns and many obstacles to overcome. I know this much; recovery will continue, no matter what the hurdles are we will jump over them and continue on. My home group and local recovery community are strong. There are many dedicated people who will do whatever is necessary to make sure support continues and recovery grows.