COVID-19 has brought a great many aspects of American life to a standstill, but for those suffering from a drug and alcohol problem, we’ve got five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help.
We get it — fear is great paralytic agent, and with so much uncertainty, it often feels easier to adopt a “wait and see” approach before pulling the trigger on a monumental life change. After all, many states and communities are just starting to open back up, and a great many health experts are cautioning against doing so too hastily. Coronavirus is still a novel disease, and while the race is on to develop a vaccine, science and medicine are discovering new things about it almost daily.
The fears you might have about it are not unreasonable, and as a medical facility, we take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. Since the pandemic first began to sweep across the country, we’ve implemented stringent protocols to protect our patients and our staff members, all while recognizing that addiction and alcoholism are illnesses that don’t respect quarantines, stay-at-home order or social distancing protocols.
We’ve continued our mission while safeguarding our community, because addiction doesn’t stop … and neither do we … which is why the five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help are crucial to your chances of surviving the illness you already have:
Reason No. 1: Economic Uncertainty
Unemployment rates reached their highest levels in history in April , which means COVID-19 took a catastrophic toll on the job market this spring. And according to government officials, those numbers could climb even higher. During an interview with Fox News , Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pointed out that the latest report likely doesn’t reflect a much higher number of claims filed after it was compiled: “We (are) talking close to 25% at this point, which is Great Depression neighborhood.”
Those job losses mean that not only have wages dried up for millions of Americans — so have health insurance policies that provide coverage for things like drug and alcohol treatment. A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that as many as “27 million people have recently lost their health insurance coverage.”  Medicaid and Obamacare tax subsidies will pick up some of the slack, according to an NPR report, “but even though a lot of people could get coverage, a big question mark here is how many actually will,” NPR health policy reporter Selena Simmons-Duffin states. “Health insurance is complicated and signing up is hard.”
For many addicts and alcoholics, a job is the last thing to go. It’s one reason we refuse to acknowledge just how bad our problem is: If we’re still employed, then surely we can’t be a real addict or alcoholic, can we? Nevermind that every other aspect of our lives is in shambles; we continue to maintain a functional existence in our chosen vocation, even though we know, somewhere deep down, that our days are numbered.
So if you’re an addict or an alcoholic, and you still have a job that provides you with a health insurance policy, consider yourself fortunate. You’ve managed to hold onto something that a lot of Americans have not in the face of COVID-19 … but even without the coronavirus, you probably realize that your drug and alcohol problem is going to cost you your job eventually.
Those two reasons alone are why you should take advantage of those health benefits to get the help you need for a drug or alcohol problem today — because there’s no guarantee you’ll have the resources to do so down the road. Even if you don’t lose your job because of COVID-19, you’re probably going to because of drugs and alcohol … which is why it’s one of the five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help.
Reason No. 2: Coronavirus is concerning. So is addiction
No one is truly certain what life in the time of coronavirus looks like going forward.
Yes, there are still new cases being logged daily (22,630 on Monday, May 18) , and the death toll continues to rise. Yes, it’s certainly a health concern for anyone and everyone. However, if you have a problem with alcohol and drugs, you’re already at risk of death.
Consider: Last year, the National Safety Council released a report detailing how “a person born in 2017 has a greater chance of dying from an accidental opioid overdose — one in 96 — than the one-in-103 odds of dying from a motor vehicle crash.”  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , “More than 750,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose.” And statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)  reveal that “an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”
So while the potential of contracting COVID-19 is certainly a risk … those struggling with an alcohol and drug problem are already at risk. Yes, you should take every conceivable precaution to avoid becoming a COVID-19 statistic, but if you’re not willing to address your addiction or alcoholism by seeking treatment, then you’re avoiding the single biggest precaution you can take to avoid becoming another kind of statistic. If that’s not near the top of the five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help, then you’re either downplaying the seriousness of your problem, or the concern over COVID-19 is blinding you to the urgency of your addiction.
Reason No. 3: There’s no better time than right now
The slower pace of life during the coronavirus shutdown has left many of us with more idle time. Perhaps your job is furloughed or your hours have been cut. Maybe you’re working from home for the foreseeable future. In addition, many of the activities we incorporate into our daily lives that keep us so busy are indefinitely postponed: sporting events, extracurricular activities, school … the list of COVID-19 closures and cancellations are numerous.
And that nips a big excuse against getting help for addiction or alcoholism in the bud (no pun intended). We often here from those who want help but aren’t ready to commit to getting it that they “don’t have time” or “can’t take time.” If the ongoing pandemic has given us anything, it’s plenty of time … except that those of us who struggle with drugs and alcohol are always racing against the clock, even when there is no pandemic.
“Normal” people are discovering the luxury of time. Writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer , Solomon Jones opines, “My greatest concern is that when the lockdowns and shutdowns come to an end, I will have to return to living my life at breakneck speed … I don’t want to go back to a time when that was a luxury, so when the coronavirus outbreak is over, some things in my life will have to change.” That sounds nice, but for addicts and alcoholics, time is never a luxury. It’s always about the race against the clock to get, use and find ways and means to get more.
During this COVID-19 slowdown, then, why not take advantage of the freedom of daily demands to do something about the other problem that sucks up all your time? There’s no better … well, time, than right now to address a drug and alcohol problem. Beds are available at Cornerstone of Recovery, and we have a host of coronavirus safeguards in place to protect you while we’re here. If you find yourself with extra time on your hands that you’re spending working on ways and means to get more of the substances that are slowly destroying you, than refocus those efforts on getting better … and let the time you have be one of the five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help.
Reason No. 4: Recovery Is Change, and Change is Hard … But Everything Is Changing
There’s a saying in the rooms of addiction recovery: Addicts and alcoholics will finally be driven to seek help “when the pain of staying the same outweighs the fear of change.” Simply put: There’s comfort in familiarity, even if the familiar is miserable. On top of that, the addicted brain has been chemically altered: “Drugs or alcohol can hijack the pleasure/reward circuits in your brain and hook you into wanting more and more,” according to a 2015 article by the National Institute of Health . “Addiction can also send your emotional danger-sensing circuits into overdrive, making you feel anxious and stressed when you’re not using the drugs or alcohol. At this stage, people often use drugs or alcohol to keep from feeling bad rather than for their pleasurable effects.”
In other words, addicts and alcoholics live in a constant state of fear of not being able to drink and use. It doesn’t matter if that fear is rational; to their minds, it is, and anything that interferes with that process is a deal-breaker until the pain of what it takes to maintain that habit becomes overwhelming. Even then, changing their behaviors and leaving drugs and alcohol behind is frightening. At least with addiction and alcoholism, they know what to expect. It may be misery, but it’s known misery. Recovery — living without alcohol and drugs — is a blank slate. It’s a set of unknown variables, and in many cases, addicts and alcoholics can’t picture life on the other side.
Here’s the thing, though: Right now, during COVID-19? Everything is changing. In April, the news organization BBC  noted that “a return to how life was at the start of 2020 is some way off. Even when lockdown restrictions are eased, coronavirus will affect our lives in many ways.” In asking for contributions from experts in all areas of life, the gist of their predictions is that a great many aspects of it will change in the weeks, months and years to come. As it turns out, a great many people dislike change as much as addicts and alcoholics do, and in this moment, we’re all having to face our fears.
What better time, then, to kill two birds with one stone? If the world is changing anyway, why not make the one change that can do you the most good — confronting and getting help for a drug and alcohol problem?
Reason No. 5: Putting it off for another day is no longer an option
We’ve saved the biggest of the five reasons why you need to call now to get addiction and alcoholism help for last: Because your life literally depends on it.
We’ve shared with you the likelihood of becoming a drug and alcohol fatality statistic. Depending on how bad your problem is, we’re probably not even telling you something you don’t already know. But when we say “your life depends on it,” we do so with the personal knowledge that there are worse things than death.
Addiction brings us to a point where we feel too tired to keep living, but too scared to die. Some of us may even attempt to take our own lives, just to make the pain go away. We curse the universe, bargain with God, and do everything we can to keep our heads above water, but in the end, we find that we’re slowly drowning.
We are not, in any sense of the word, truly living. If you suffer as we did, you may have convinced yourself that you are … and you may have made it this far without treatment … but are you truly alive? In our experience — and many of us who work at Cornerstone are in recovery ourselves — suffering from addiction and alcoholism is just existing.
Our problems slowly get worse, our health slowly declines and we’re stuck in wreckage of our own making, until we’re faced with two choices: get help, or lose everything. Why wait until the latter when with a simple phone call, you can choose the former?
You’ve put off getting help long enough. You deserve better than the misery in which you find yourself. You may be frightened of change, you may be scared of COVID-19, you may have a million other reasons why you can’t … but the hard truth is that all of those things are simply excuses. You deserve a better future than that, which is why when you make that phone call — today! — we’ll be waiting, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.