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Recovering addicts in a time of COVID-19

According to state officials, drug overdoses took 127 lives in Maine during the first three months of this year.

BANGOR, Maine — The pandemic has been a stressful time for most people, if not all of us. But for those with serious addictions, whether it's drugs or alcohol, being in crisis and in isolation can be even more dangerous.

"Being a past addict myself, you kind of know...know that there is going to be an issue...people are going to be struggling, being isolated and not having the support that they need," says Adam Jones, a volunteer at the Calvary Residential Discipleship.

The Calvary Residential Discipleship is a one-year live-in program for men and women who are seeking a way of escape from drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. Their recovery method focuses on connecting on a deeper level with Jesus Christ, God's word, and worship.

"When something like this pandemic hits, it just increases the hopelessness," says Emily Jones, the Director of the Calvary Residential Women's program.

Adam and Emily Jones have been sober for 15 years. Now, they are helping people battling addiction through a program at the Calvary Chapel in Orrington.

The Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN) is hosting in-person addiction recovery meetings, after being closed for more than a month. In-person meetings are limited in size to adhere to social distancing guidelines. 36 chairs are available, but the BARN's peer support services coordinator, Robert Fickett tells NEWS CENTER Maine, some days as much as 90 people have shown up for a session.

People recovering from addiction can also join virtual meetings.

"I think especially folks in early recovery when this hit, weren't able to access the support they needed and that very well may have impacted their recovery and caused them to relapse and have slips and things like that," says Fickett.

According to state officials, drug overdoses took 127 lives in Maine during the first three months of this year. That number is expected to go up.

CRD Reunion July 31st, 5 - 9 pm. BBQ All are welcome. There will be ... a bounce house for the kids. Volleyball throughout the evening. Worship music and a special message from pastor Ken at the fire pit. Cure Conference August 1st, 9 am to 12 noon.

"Addicts that are interested in the program, and didn't make it there yet but were interested..those things had to be halted," says Emily Jones.

In-person meetings are a crucial part of the recovery process. Many of those sessions were and for some places are still on hold.

The Bangor Area Recovery Network has re-started recovery meetings with less than half the number of chairs as usual. 

"When our meetings have reached capacity, if somebody new comes in who is really struggling, our community members are more than happy to give up their seat to somebody who may need the meeting more than they do," says Fickett.

Yesterday the BARN Board of Directors presented Joanna Russell with ... the Jean Baker Recovery Advocacy Award. The award is presented annually to a person who has been an advocate for recovery from substance use disorders. This individual will have demonstrated dedication, and commitment to the greater Bangor area recovery community, and honors the mission, values, and pillars of BARN.

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"To have to distance yourself it's very hard, and when someone passes in a recovery.. it really hits home," says Jen Dunton, a BARN volunteer.

"I remember being in the hospital and them trying to bring me back, and going away... I didn't even know what was happening," says Jones.

The recovery effort does not stop because of this pandemic and help is always available.

Resources throughout the can be found in this website.

Here is another list of recovery centers in the state.

To contact the Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN) you can call (207) 561-9444.

Adam Jones from the Calvary Residential Discipleship can be contacted at 207-570-3034.

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