Alcoholics Anonymous groups still providing support despite decreasing in-person meetings

Overcoming addiction despite COVID-19 pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic can be a challenge for anyone, especially people living with addiction and mental health struggles.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance use.

With the winter months and frigid temperatures closing in, people in support groups are now less likely to meet in person.

Prior to the colder temperatures, people were able to social distance outside, but now groups are having to rely more on digital platforms like Zoom.

“Our whole recovery world has been turned upside down,” said Karen who has been sober for the last 10 years.

Karen works closely with other members of the Charlotte AA Intergroup and said she hopes she can help more people by sharing her personal story of addiction and triumph.

“It just got to the point where it consumed so much of my life it was almost more of a spiritual bottom is inside myself it was so painful that I finally needed to get help,” she said.

Tim is also a member of the Charlotte group. He’s been sober for five years and thanks his home group and other members for helping him.

“If it were not for Alcoholics Anonymous I would be dead as a result of the addiction to alcohol,” he said.

Both have been members long before the pandemic modified their in-person meetings, but Tim says Zoom meetings have been a great help and he has still seen success stories of people going in the right direction, even though the support groups aren’t face to face.

“In my home group there are people who have actually gotten sober virtually, they’ve never been to an in person Alcoholics Anonymous meeting now joining virtually and are staying sober with the rest of us just one day at a time,” he said.

No matter the addiction, Karen says the most important thing people need to know is that they’re not alone and there’s help within reach.

“Reach out cause there’s a hand that’s ready to grab you,” she said.

If you or anyone you know is facing an addiction or mental illness, there are resources to help.

The national confidential hotline for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is 1-800-662-4357.

Click here for mental health resources in North Carolina.

Click here for substance use resources and support in North Carolina.

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