Former addicts face struggles with lack of in-person recovery meetings
REGINA -- The requirement to physical distance and keep gatherings below 10 people has meant recovery meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous aren’t happening right now.
For some who attend the physical meetings, it’s been a struggle. Kristina is a recovering addict and relapsed last week because she didn’t have a meeting to go too.
“I’m a mother and if I go back to where I was then I will lose everything,” Kristina said. “I am early in recovery and that’s really scary for people in early recovery because the power that drugs have over me is really scary."
Some recovery groups have been holding meetings online through conferencing websites. Kristina said, those meetings just aren’t the same as the physical ones.
“I feel like I want to use again, its hard,” Kristina said. “I’ve been reaching out but it’s been a struggle."
Certain recovery groups in Saskatchewan say they reached out to the provincial government asking if recovery meetings could be seen as an essential service meaning the meetings could continue. The groups say those requests were denied.
“It was worrisome especially with liquor stores staying open during these times,” said Hayley who is a member of recovery meetings. “We know that people need meetings just as much as they needed their alcohol or their drugs or their others needs of coping back in the day."
The Premier of Saskatchewan said the public’s safety is a priority but he also doesn’t want some residents’ personal struggles compromised during this pandemic.
“In this case minimizing the impacts to people’s personal lives and the supports that they will need,” Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan said.
“What would be an example of exactly where we maybe want to have the conversation where, is there an opportunity to keep those numbers below ten, but if they have to be above ten, lets have that conversation on how we can do that with safe social distancing practises in place."
Some who attend recovery meetings worry that if physical meetings aren’t brought back soon, those struggling with addiction could see increased relapses.
“The fact of the matter is that, and I hate to say this, chances are not only are we going to see deaths from Covid-19, but we are probably going to start seeing a lot of overdose deaths as well," said Hannah who is another member of recovery meetings.