In the matter of 2 weeks our world was turned upside down.  That which we knew as our normal, was changed.  We stayed home, we isolated, and we were uncertain.   We were forced to teach, to be IT techs all while working, or worse, NOT working because we lost our job.  Add an addiction to this equation and the desire to change that behavior and recover.   It seems like an impossible feat.  Who can stop drinking during a time like this when all we want to do is drink to escape?  Yet, the anxiety and depression have gotten to a point we can no longer handle, we want to stop so badly.  But HOW?  How does one stop?  What was once a difficult process is now more challenging than ever in the age of COVID. 

Recovery is hard!  Making the decision to change because life has become unmanageable, because you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, is hard.  As therapist in the field of addiction, we have all heard it.  So, we provide a plethora of resources to help our clients navigate the recovery world.  We send them to an appropriate detox, we guide them to outpatient resources, we encourage local social support groups, and we continue to see them in therapy.  This process is long and arduous on a good day.  How can we support our client’s through the recovery process when the recovery world has been turned upside down?  It may be hard, but it is still possible, and it is now needed more than ever to be there for our clients.

We, as clinicians, can disperse the academic information and teach therapeutic interventions, but for many of our clients it is not enough.  The importance of a social support network of peers has been proven to be one of the most contributing factors to abstinence.  How do we encourage this social support when the social aspects of recovery have all but gone on-line?  With limited social interactions involved.  As we all know too well, it is just another excuse our clients use to continue their negative behaviors.  However, there are meetings.  Many of them in fact, right here at home and world wild.  We need to promote and express excitement for the multitude of meetings available.  While sharing that people can, and have, stopped drinking and drugging by attending virtual meetings. 

And, now, as the world slowly begins to open up, we need to let our client’s know that meetings are beginning to happen in person.  Therapists need to work with clients on their ambivalence toward meetings both in person and virtual.  Utilizing such motivational interviewing tools can nudge our clients over the ambivalent hump and get them to step foot in a meeting, virtual or in person, so they can see for themselves that the social supports for recovery are crucial, especially during a time like now when addiction and overdoses are on the rise.  There are other ways to cope with the stresses going on in our world now, let us help our clients see there is an alternative.  Recovery during COVID is possible.  Below are links that provide a slew of local resources to aid in addiction recovery efforts.  

Chapel Hill AA meetings:  https://aanc33.org/

Durham County AA meetings:  http://www.aanc32.org/

SMART recovery of the Triangle:  https://trianglesmartrecovery.org/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/

Author: Quinn McFall

I believe that the most important aspect of counseling is the relationship developed between the client and myself.  I focus on the client as a holistic person.  Looking at all aspects of one’s life (family, career, health, spirituality, etc.) and how those important factors impact the whole person. Nothing is more important to the outcome of therapy than the absolute positive regard I have towards those I assist.  I believe that regardless of why one seeks emotional guidance, we all want to be reassured that we will be treated with respect and dignity.  That is a promise I make to each and every person I counsel.   

I specialize in the treatment of depression, anxiety, mood disorders and substance abuse.  I utilize evidence based practices including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement to help people resolve concerns and improve their quality of life.  I’m dedicated to physical wellness  to assist in  stress management and strengthening self-esteem and self-worth.        

I am a native to the gulf coast of Florida but have been in the triangle for 18 years.  I received my undergraduate degree from Sewanee; The University of the South, in Tennessee, and my graduate degree from East Carolina University, in Rehabilitation Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling.  I am fully licensed as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist.  The field of psychotherapy is always evolving which is why I continually attend continuing education courses and follow new trends in the field to better serve my clients.  

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