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Isolation during pandemic increases relapse risk for people in recovery

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Isolation during the pandemic can cause an increase in relapse and overdose for recovering alcoholics.

The "Unity Women's Alcoholics Anonymous" group at the Coulee Recovery Center helped Mary Jo Redman-Ellis and Erica Black maintain sobriety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Isolation is deadly," Redman-Ellis said. "I believe that sobriety is about connection. Staying connected to each other. We get into our heads. We think we don't need meetings and it can get into a dark place very fast."

"For some people, it has made it a problem because they're dealing with their stress in other ways," Coulee Recovery Center executive director Cheryl Hancock said. "They aren't able to exercise they aren't able to do some of the things they may have done for their stress in other ways previously."

Redman-Ellis prioritized her recovery and attended meetings through Zoom and eventually in-person. She will be three years sober in August.

Black said helping others helps her handle alcoholism.

"All of these women have different personalities but they all bring fun and the best support system to the table," Black said. "I honestly don't know what I would do without them."

She is one year sober.

If someone is struggling with their addiction because of isolation they should call 608-784-4177 for 24/7 help.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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