Advocates: Self-isolation is especially hard for recovering addicts

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While many New Jerseyans are dealing with the stress of living their lives in isolation, those who are in recovery are also facing the challenge of staying sober during this trying time.

The challenges those in recovery from substance abuse addictions face are unimaginable to most people. Experts say that as in-person support systems are unavailable, anxiety builds over the unknown during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think this extremely difficult time for people in early recovery,” says addiction recovery advocate Phillip O’Hara.

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O'Hara has been successful in his recovery for more than three years. He now works to help those who are overcoming a variety of obstacles.

"I just had to go do an intervention yesterday for a guy who had 90 days, doing great and lost his job. He kept saying he is on his way, going to detox, and, ‘How am I going to pay my bill? How am I gonna pay my bills?’” O’Hara says.

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Many who are trying to deal with the stress and loneliness of the pandemic are turning to smartphone apps like Loosid, an addiction recovery tool. It helps them connect with mentors and others facing similar circumstances.

“Self-isolating without having tools to connect and engage with people is literally deadly for an addict,” says MJ Gottlieb who created the Loosid app in 2018.

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Gottlieb says that there has been an over 80% increase in activity on the platform since the first week of March as people check out ways to find fun in sobriety with online social events and sober dating. There is also a built-in hotline for those who need help.

“Times that we’re going through, if you feel jammed up, call somebody and say, ‘I need help. I don’t know what to do,’” says Gottlieb.

Creators say Loosid is all inclusive for those in recovery, curious about recovery and anyone else who is interested in the app.

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