A day in the life of someone in recovery during COVID-19

"I went to one meeting with people and then meetings started shutting down"

  • Keira McGuire

On March 10, Saige Keyes decided to drink after three years of sobriety.

“My head just got really loud,” she said. “I thought that I could do this on my own. I swore that I was going to pour wine into a glass and that would be it. It ended up with me in the bathroom and the whole bottle of wine was gone the next day.”

On March 11, Saige quit drinking for the second time in her life — but this time she would have to navigate recovery during a pandemic. Just three weeks into her sobriety, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

“I went to one meeting with people and then meetings started shutting down,” she said. “I think it is really hard being new in sobriety and having to go through this because you’re getting sober on Zoom. You’re talking to people through a laptop, or it’s isolation, and isolation is not easy. That’s something I did when I was drinking, you know?”

Throughout staying at home, Saige had to switch to online learning as a college student, hold two jobs and maintain her sobriety.

But, she did it.

As of March 29, Saige was confident in her sobriety. Although some 12-step meetings are beginning to meet in person again, for now she is continuing to attend virtually.

“I know that some 12-step meetings are now starting to meet up again, but they say bring your own coffee, bring your own mask. You know, social distancing,” she said. “I am too nervous, and I am a little bit too anxious.”

Instead of rushing back into the world, Saige is choosing to take recovery and the pandemic one day at a time.

“I think that we need empathy. Hopefully we can take away some empathy and see how other people are affected, too, you know?” Saige said. “I hope people just come together more, you know, love on each other more.”

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