Addicted during the pandemic: Gulf Coast women share their relapse stories

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EIGH MILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Addicted during the pandemic. For some, the stay-at-home order was a recipe for self-destruction. Isolation and unemployment, fueling their addictions. Many women turned to the Home of Grace in Eight Mile for help.

Addicts like Kristin Douglas said the pandemic was the worst thing that could have happened to her. She lost her job and didn’t know what the future would hold.

“My addiction really spiraled out of control when I stopped working,” Douglas said. She was addicted to opiate-like pills she could buy at the gas station. Douglas says she purchased upwards of four bottles a day to get high. She didn’t have a job to go to, so no one held her accountable.

“There was no accountability there. You can’t go to work high. It takes off from there,” Douglas said.

Douglas is one of many addicts who is getting clean at the Home of Grace. Intake Counselor Katherine Kihyet says they have seen a 60-percent increase in the number of women trying to get a spot at the Home of Grace.

“They couldn’t go to meetings. They were doing Zoom meetings, that brought isolation. Addicts and alcoholics don’t do well in isolation,” Kihyet said.

Home of Grace Counselor Shannon Long says the pandemic caused a lot of women to relapse.

“Just because of the isolation. Stress was a big factor. The anxiety. The uncertainty. They were not sure what was going on,” Long said.

Long said the Home of Grace refused to turn anyone down, although the pandemic made things challenging. They only took ladies in on Tuesdays, and the ladies had to stay in quarantine until they were sure they did not have Covid. The Home of Grace did NOT have any positive Covid cases in the dorms.

Recovering addict Douglas says the Home of Grace has helped her realize that she can kick her addiction.

“I’m doing great. I came here on my own. I feel confident that I can put to use the tools I have learned here. I have gotten a lot of peace of mind here,” Douglas said.

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