VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Social isolation may lead to boredom for many of us, but for those working to stay sober, being alone can present triggers to abuse.
"Before coronavirus, stressors people were usually under were getting to the services and meetings and life itself. People get triggered by all sorts of things," said Dr. Paul Hardy, founder of Recovery for Life in Virginia Beach.
He says the isolation period magnifies everything for an addict.
"I call it the ABCs: How Available is your drug, how Bored are you and what are your Captivating thoughts surrounding it," Hardy said.
Hardy told News 3 for those in recovery, boredom can also spell a recipe for relapse.
"Just think - alcohol sales went up 55% in March, and now there are delivery services for it. People are even using code words on social media to find drugs," Hardy explained.
Hardy says during the pandemic, many of his clients are also having a tough time paying for his recovery services and treatment.
"We went from 100 clients a week to 60," Hardy said.
He says now instead of peer-to-peer or group meetings, he is doing virtual meetings to help his clients. Meetings, he believes, are vital during the "stay at home" order.
"We always say, 'Secrets make us sick,' and so with the secrecy of isolation, many people can use or drink and no one will know," Hardy said.
He encourages those who need a little extra guidance to stay positive, call friends and family and re-focus energies.
"Maybe it's a new hobby, something that causes you to focus and think differently. Maybe it's reading good books or watching good movies and getting outside," Hardy said.
If you or someone you know needs help, check out these resources: