Quarantine & Relapse


“Yeah, I don’t know, Herb. This quarantine shit is crazy. Can’t do shit and can’t go anywhere. Been stuck in the house for 2 months straight, and all my bills are paid plus some. Shit, might as well get high.”

  • Anonymous Person who called me recently

Addicts/Alcoholics those in recovery and prone to relapse and with mental health problems seem to be getting hit especially hard during the Pandemic.

Here’s what I’ve noticed, somewhat in a nutshell:

I, personally benefit from structure and a schedule.
Wake up, coffee, work, home, walk, dinner, shower, Netflix, bed. Maybe the gym if I felt comfortable enough to go. I’m sure that most of you can relate to this.

Quarantine flipped all of our plans, structure, and schedules upside down.

Now we just have all this time.
Time to think. Time to over think. Time to waste. Time to sit. Time to get bored.

Now, a lot of us, have indeed found the time useful, and our day to day lives haven’t been that upset. But there are a great many who in just 75 short days, have lost their lives, their sanity, their recovery.

It’s a pretty rough formula that quiet frankly lined up “perfectly” to facilitate relapse.

No work. No activities. No meetings. No gatherings of any kind. No church. Hell, even parks were closed.

Idle time. Idle thoughts. Just. Stuck. Inside four walls for a lot of people. And the isolation and boredom is a breeding ground for chemical use.

And then factor this in: money.

Free money.

Lots of it.

More, than some were even making before.

“So, all of our bills are paid, in some cases $990 a week times 4, plus my significant others, or a room mate I got an apartment with when we both left the half way house with 1 year clean.” Etc…

And it makes for a very dangerous combination.

Stress+ Boredom + fear + quarantine + loneliness+ time + more money than I’m used to = big time problems in the addiction world…

(*Now I am not condemning PUA insurance or unemployment, I myself have benefited from it here and there and am grateful. This is just to illustrate from what I see- partly why the numbers are so alarming right now)

NOT TO MENTION, just the uncertainty and stress of the times, the media, Facebook, etc… this virus has everyone truly shaken and scared.

Then, for a time, and even now- treatment centers, half way houses, even county jails, are not taking people. Detoxes are turning people away, treatment centers are shut down or taking extreme precautions (get a covid test, wait 24-72 hours for a negative result) and by then we’re gone.

The resources for help have been scarce and the demand has been through the roof.

It’s truly heart breaking. I have seen so many pass away during this time, and it had “nothing” to do with covid-19. It was alcoholism, addiction, suicide, etc. I am so saddened by this.

I hope we can get back to the old normal fast. This new normal is killing people while we’re trying to save people…




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