LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Finding community in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for many, but for those struggling with addiction, the lack of face-to-face meetings poses a unique challenge.
“It never leaves you, you always have it,” Victor Schwartz said. “It’s truly one day at a time.”READ MORE: Councilman Ridley-Thomas To Step Back from Council, Committee Meetings
Schwartz has been sober for 21 years. He has struggled with alcohol abuse, substance abuse and gambling — and he still struggles today.
“You know how when you’re cooking and you touch the pan and it’s hot — that type of recoil — that’s what it’s like now,” he said. “I know that drink is going to burn me.”
Schwartz credits his continued sobriety to the support he’s received over the past two decades, both from his friends and family and face-to-face meetings with others who can relate to his struggle.
“It is a family of people really just rooting for each other,” he said.READ MORE: Jane Fonda Joins Fight To Ban Off Shore Drilling In Orange County
But, with new social restrictions in place, in-person meetings have been suspended forcing people online to find that support.
“There are telephone meetings and there are video meetings,” Schwartz said. “Our groups have put together lists and easy-to-find spreadsheets. To be able to connect to groups, not just all over the country, but all over the world, is incredible.”
These groups are helping those who are struggling to stay the course virtually, giving the term technical support a much larger meaning.
“Some people don’t have a lot going on in their lives right now,” Schwartz said. “One of the worst things for my disease is having time on my hands. It’s, without parallel, the importance of being able to be connected, looking for positive ways to go through the day.”MORE NEWS: Overturned Tanker Blocking I-5 and Arroyo Parkway Transition Road
And for those looking for additional support, the group Cocaine Anonymous will be hosting a 48-hour online unity marathon starting Friday, April 2 at 7 p.m. to help connect those in need.