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How the Pandemic Affected Sober Drug Addicts in New York

As the Covid-19 pandemic winds down (hopefully), a New Yorker describes what types of effects were there for those with substance abuse issues.


My name is Julius. I’m a New Yorker through and through, and I’m a drug addict through and through. I grew up in Queens and now I live in…(sigh)…Staten Island, NY. It’s not by choice, but that’s where the girl lives and it’s where the job is at so to not live here would make no sense.

When Covid-19 first hit we got pulverized. New York was the nation’s epicenter for illness and deaths. If you remember, Gov. Cuomo was doing daily news conferences and things got so bad that the Navy had to bring one of those hospital ships. Bodies were literally stacked 4 or 5 high inside refrigerated trailers in hospital parking lots.

For us drug addicts and alcoholics, the sober ones that is, the beginning part of the pandemic was so captivating that it overshadowed the presence of isolation and lack of group recovery and fellowship. Although I’m saying this from the perspective of someone with 8 years of sobriety, so I suppose the experience might’ve been quite different for the newcomers.

New York, much like Southern California, offers an enormous selection of AA and NA meeting options. In fact, according to the New York City Intergroup there are about 600 AA meetings per day in the city alone! Now throw NA and CA into the mix an it’s got to be upwards of 900 or more. So to go from that type of recovery and fellowship to literally zero is hard to wrap you arms around. Even 9/11 didn’t stop meetings from happening here.

There were literally days that I didn’t want to get out of bed. It took mass amounts of contrary action to force myself up, shower, and make some sober phone calls. The situation here in New York was grim to say the least. There was a sense of gloom that I hadn’t seen in 20 years.

Sobriety is a funny thing, you know. There are times you think things are at their worst, and yet deep inside you really feel quite good, or at least okay. And then there are times things are seeming wonderful on the outside, but deep inside something just isn’t right. And that’s the crazy thing, because no matter how bad my addiction wanted me to feel about myself and about life, the fact that ALL of us were in the same boat made it not so bad.

I can say with all honesty that Covid-19 made my sobriety stronger. For those who made it through without relapse, my guess is that many of them feel the same.


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This article was submitted anonymously by a non-employee of FoxWhole Recovery Services

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