The Share

Newly Sober During CoViD

We asked these sober folks what who are fairly new in recovery what their experience has been like while adhering to the Los Angeles County Safer at Home Order during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.



“Staying at home is challenging, but given the tools that I’ve obtained from going through the Van Ness House, I’m able to face the challenges. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but I do have the foundation and it’s just a matter of choosing to use them. When I don’t use them, I slip. I found it easier to relapse recently. It was easy to fly under the radar, because my default is to isolate when I’m having feelings. I learned to reach out to people, but I chose not to. I learned that I could reach out via phone or through Zoom meetings. The connection never went away. I was only out for a week, but now I’m happy to be back. I want people to know that you are not alone and as long as you reach out, you have a fighting chance.”

—Joey Parker, sober since May 2, 2020.


“It’s challenging. When I checked myself into the Van Ness Recovery House, it didn’t turn out to be what I thought it was going to be. I’ve gone through this program before, so when I came out here from Virginia, I expected it to be similar. To have this wrench get thrown in has really made me get in touch with the idea of powerlessness and acceptance to what I can’t control. It sucks not being able to give people hugs or be in the same room with a bunch of people. On the positive side, it’s forced me to call people more than I’m used to. I also like knowing that my call is helping others as much as it helps me, because they are isolated as well and they’re going through the same situation. I’m grateful I’m in rehab during this pandemic. I have a support system with eighteen other alcoholics and addicts and I’m grateful I’m not alone in a basement in Virginia. For now, it is what it is.”

—Adam Downs, sober since July 28, 2019.


“I was in the Van Ness Recovery House for nine months and I’m currently in sober living, which I’m really grateful to be in. I feel a different type of isolation. When I was using, my isolation was sad and dark. Now I’m isolating with my peers. We all check in and the support here is really great. I feel like my connection with my support group has gotten a lot stronger. I’m definitely using my phone a lot. During this pandemic I’ve been able to grow closer to people, which I find a little bit weird. Zoom meetings make it easy. I don’t have to worry about transportation to get to a meeting and I can just jump in and do as many as I want. I find myself making more Face Time calls. It’s the step down from meeting someone in person. I make more of an effort to connect with people and I’m getting used to not meeting people face to face. I’m just grateful to be where I am today.”

—Leo Vazquez, sober since April 15, 2019.


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