As the Family Support Navigator for the Addiction Care Center in Albany, Dan McClarney is finding news to carry on the message of substance recovery during this pandemic.

“We're resilient and we're finding ways of getting together and doing activities,” said McClarney. 

Social distancing guidelines have halted in-person addiction meetings, but with digital platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype, organizers are making sure members never miss a step in their road to recovery.

“We have [a] 12 step yoga which we could do ... there's yoga apps now we can go on. I just did [Tai Chi] for the first time last Sunday,” said McClarney.

He says however, the effects of COVID-19 isolation have lead to spikes in addiction relapses.

“The big thing I'm seeing now are family members calling us [about loved ones relapsing],” said McClarney.

As a recovering substance abuser, McClarney says the key to staying sober during this time is to stay connected and stay on your routine.

“I wake up in the morning and I have a little routine where I set my day and get mindful [and note to myself] there's nothing that can make me use today,” said McClarney.

Because many people in the sobriety community like the elderly are not as comfortable with using conferencing apps, they’ve instituted 24 hour helplines.

“I know being in substance use, when you're ingrained in that, you lose hope. You don't think there's any way out and I just want to let everyone know there is a way out and there are people like myself out there that just want to help,” said McClarney.

For more information on virtual meetings and the number to their anonymous helpline, you can visit NA.org or AA.org.