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COVID-19 means trying times for people in recovery from alcohol, drug addiction

A representative of Choice House in Boulder said many were the first to lose their jobs & are unable to do some aspects of treatment due to social distancing.

BOULDER, Colo. — The risk for relapse is high for people who struggle with substance abuse due to social isolation and job loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That's according to Choice House Director of Referent and Family Communication Josh Miller. Choice House is a substance abuse treatment center for men in Boulder.

Miller said some of the men in their 90 day in-patient treatment center lost employment after the pandemic hit.

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“Most of them were the first people to lose their jobs," said Miller. “Now these guys can’t go to work, and they can’t really go anywhere else."

The recovery center offers in-patient treatment for men between the ages of 18 and 35 for up to 90 days where the focus is to find ways to integrate the young men back in the community. 

Miller said the best way to do that is for the men to explore Colorado's outdoors in large groups.

“Just to get outside its grounding, its centering, it’s a stress remover and that’s true for our young men as well. Those things benefit recovery," said Miller. “We believe that shared experiences are incredibly important."

The program leaders take the men hiking, biking and skiing, but some of those activities have been scaled back due to social distancing guidelines. 

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Miller said isolation, anxiety and fear are major factors of a relapse for those in recovery. Right now, the conditions are ripe for that to happen.

Choice House said some on the road to new life of sobriety see this time as another challenge of their strength in the steps to starting over. 

“Right now they’re having to completely put all that stuff that they were looking forward to in life on hold," said Miller.

Choice House is offering telehealth options online. The Recovery Center is encouraging anyone who needs help to call them at 720-577-4422. 

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