Personal Account: Pandemic Recovery
Paul Alves is a Peer Consultant for the COE and Director of Recovery Support Services at Choice Recovery Coaching Inc.
“Two weeks after the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines were implemented in Massachusetts, I found myself in pajamas and realized that I had fallen into a slump with my wellness on the line. Recognizing the need to better take care of myself, I finally decided to reach out to my recovery community both for personal support and to better understand the impact that this pandemic was having others. It appeared that everywhere I looked, the world had shut down, leaving people disconnected from their families, jobs, schools, and recovery supports. I saw many losing their sense of purpose and others struggling their basic needs.
After reconnecting with other peers and learning more about the complex challenges that my community faced, I was reinvigorated to outreach and serve others. Both established and new participants expressed a variety of needs, such as help accessing recovery services and medical care. They shared their struggles, fears, and difficult emotions, and it was clear that many just wanted someone to listen. They all wanted connection in this new world of physical distancing.
“…it was clear that many just wanted someone to listen. They all wanted connection in this new world of physical distancing…”
We use diverse methods in our outreach, including telephone, text messaging, FaceTime, conference calls, emails, social media and a simple human experiential approach to our delivery of care. While the application of recovery coaching evolves, the principles remain the same. We continue to provide services that are trauma-informed, strengths-based, person-centered and forward-facing.
While some community members may prefer in-person connections, others have expressed appreciation of staying connected and involved in peer support through these new technologies, especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation. It has been a great relief, albeit in a whole new way, for me to continue to connect with people. I have appreciated both giving and receiving support and feel tremendous gratitude. I have been in awe of recovery communities quickly stepping up to the plate and being creative in supporting one another during this pandemic. Peer supporters are truly on the frontline of care for the communities they support.
The provision of Recovery Support services will continue to grow. We will accept them in any form as we honor ALL pathways of recovery. Our communities demand recovery supports more than ever. Lending an ear, giving a smile, or sharing a kind word through telephone, text, Facebook messaging or a video conference can be the simple act that inspires others during this challenging time.”
Paul Alves, CARC, NCPRSS, MAPGS
Peer Consultant, MGH COE
Director of Recovery Support Services, Choice Recovery Coaching Inc.