WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – With Pennsylvania’s stay at home order extended until May 8th, residents are facing an additional week of isolating from others. Those in recovery are now further challenged to stay sober in isolation.
This raises concerns about a possible increase in alcohol and substance addiction. That’s why counseling services are reminding those in the struggle they can find help from the comfort of their home.
More people self-medicating in forced isolation is another disturbing development during the coronavirus crisis.
“We want to help people head off problems by helping them find better coping skills than just drinking,” Peter Loeb, CEO/Co-Founder of Lionrock Recovery told Eyewitness News
Loeb and Ashley Loeb Blassingame are co-founders of Lionrock Recovery, a California-based online drug and alcohol addiction rehab program. The coronavirus crisis presents a unique set of challenges to those in recovery looking to replace destructive behaviors with better solutions.
“Coping mechanisms like getting out and exercising, being in nature, fellowship, support group meetings, and many of those are no longer available to us,” said Loeb Blassingame, a Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor and Co-Founder of Lionrock Recovery
But what is available are virtual tools even for those who cannot afford the treatment to get clean and sober because they lost their jobs or are struggling financially.
“Our admissions to our professional program jumped 40 percent just in the last month. Attendance at our support group meetings tripled during this same period of time,” Loeb said. “So we are well equipped to help people who are struggling with substance abuse disorders and are finding that there aren’t other places to go.”
Blassingame is a former childhood drinker and high school opioid addict. She fought her way back from darkness and despair and has been sober now for 14 years.
“I want other people struggling to know whether you’re in long-term recovery or just starting out on this journey that this too shall pass and that right now is a great time to find new coping skills and make those much stronger,” she said. “That it’s not a time where we have to give up and it’s not a time where we have to be disconnected emotionally, that our connection is a choice.”
Lionrock Recovery has put together a free, online COVID-19 anxiety support group that’s available to anyone. They can be reached at (800) 258-6550 or online by clicking here.