Sure, the current coronavirus pandemic is nothing to sneeze at (pun intended). On March 5th, 2020, the CDC had reported there were 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with 11 deaths attributed to the disease. As of yesterday (4/27/20), just seven weeks later, there have been nearly 1 million confirmed cases and over 55,000 COVID-19-related deaths nationwide.
Still, you may be reading this and pondering the question, “Should I or shouldn’t I go into rehab and get addiction treatment for alcohol/drug abuse?”
Here are some thoughts to reflect upon, which will hopefully help you make the wisest possible decision.
- No one can safely predict when the COVID-19 pandemic will subside. In the meantime, if you’re struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, you still need help.
- Alcohol-induced deaths in the U.S. were well over 58,000 in 2017, and more than 70,00 deaths were caused by drug overdose. The point being, delaying treatment of one’s addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, for tens of thousands of Americans each year, is deadly. Put another way, treating your addiction now can literally make the difference between life and death.
- There is no evidence that you’re more likely to contract the coronavirus at an addiction treatment center or rehab facility in comparison with any other place.
- In fact, given the lowered immune systems people with substance abuse disorders often have, many treatment centers around the country are putting in place extra precautionary health measures to ensure greater safety for their clients and staff, including:
- Private rooms for all in-residence clients
- Before clients come to the treatment center, asking them about symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), exposures and recent travel (update CDC Covid-19 screening questions)
- In reception rooms, waiting areas and elsewhere in the facility, posting of signs about hand hygiene and cough etiquette; advising people to sit or stand 6 feet apart; and mask and glove-wearing protocols
- Facilitating secure online group and individual therapy sessions for both IP and PHP levels of care.
- Implementing social distancing in housing and group meetings
- Utilizing remote/online technology for AA, NA, and other 12 Steps meetings
- Requiring hand washing before and after groups and making hand sanitizer widely available
- Implementation of more regular disinfection of surfaces, such as doorknobs, desks, tables, kitchen countertops, stairwell handles, etc.
- Making it mandatory that outpatient clients and treatment center staff stay home if they have any viral symptoms, as well as isolating patients who are sick in private rooms, whenever possible
In other words, there are many good reasons why you can feel more confident about going into rehab to begin getting professional and medical support and treatment for your alcohol or drug issues. Not only are treatment center staff members highly focused on assisting you with your recovery, they are—just like you—sincerely concerned about protecting themselves and those they serve from coronavirus infection.
One final thought from one who was imprisoned by the horrible grip of addiction (for 31 years) and now has 22 years of being “clean & sober”: There is SO much good and SO many gifts to be had in recovery, in a life free from the obsession and compulsion to drink or use, that if you DO choose to go into treatment now, stepping past any fears or anxieties you may have held up to this moment, perhaps encouraging yourself with some of the points made and statistics cited in this blog-post, and if you DO choose to get and stay clean & sober, one day at a time, well, months or years from now, I have NO doubt you will NOT look back and say to yourself, “Wow, I sure made a poor decision back then!”
Just saying. 😊