Former Hole drummer Patty Schemel on virtually navigating through her addiction

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People recovering from substance addiction often work with support groups and sponsors to help them overcome cravings. But with stay-at-home orders, in-person AA meetings and social gatherings are no longer possible. 

That’s where online platforms come in. Zoom, for example, has allowed people in recovery to meet each other virtually.

Figuring out a Zoom AA meeting wasn’t easy, but it was worth it, according to Patty Schemel, former drummer of the band Hole and author of the memoir “Hit So Hard.” 

“I needed to hear other alcoholics talk about how they were feeling and connect. … That’s the thing with us, reaching out to another alcoholic and hearing what their fears are or their solution and being of service,” says Schemel.

Working through her addiction made her realize her strength. 

“When I talk to my support group and my community, we’ve been through some tough stuff, and we can get through this. So being a little low on toilet paper isn’t a big problem [comparatively].”

Maintaining communication is key to getting through recovery, according to  Matthew Polacheck, PsyD, MA. He directs the Betty Ford Center in Los Angeles.

“The opposite of addiction is community. With substance use disorder being a chronic disease, you’ve got to check in with your sponsor and the people in the AA rooms with you and loved ones,” he says.  

“I think the key is people have to realize in a time like this, isolation is the enemy,” Polacheck says. “We’ve got over 20 million in the recovery community. … So there’s people out there that want to help, there’s great treatment out there. So we don’t have a cure of substance use disorder, but we’ve got great treatment. Between the recovery community and the treatment, there’s hope there, there are places where people can go.”