A day in the life of someone in long-term recovery during the coronavirus pandemic

"It's kind of the silver lining of this whole entire pandemic: knowing that even though we're apart, we're never alone."

“It’s kind of the silver lining of this whole entire pandemic,” Dan Albert says, “knowing that even though we’re apart, we’re never alone.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic took center stage, the opioid epidemic was the primary health concern within many communities.

Dan Albert has been a member of the opioid recovery community since April 30, 2017.

“I’ve come to realize I don’t like losing everything I care about, and my life is worth living,” he said. “And the things that mean the most to me include a life of sobriety and recovery.”

He is concerned the coronavirus pandemic could lead to relapse for some in the recovery community, as well as what the crisis means for people on medicated-assisted treatment.

“From what I’ve been hearing, the lines are long,” he said. “So, people are actually getting frustrated with the fact that they have to wait so long for their medicated-assisted treatment. That worries me.”

Albert is combatting negative feelings related to the coronavirus by focusing on what he can control. He is also adding more structure to his days. He says right after he wakes up, he thanks God for another day and takes time to meditate.

He normally attends twelve-step fellowship meetings in person. Those have been cancelled due to social distancing. Instead, the meetings are available through online platforms, like Zoom.

“This way we can visually see other individuals in recovery on the same mission as us, as myself, trying to get another day of recovery,” says Albert.

He is also staying in touch with others in recovery by making frequent phone calls.

“It’s you know, it’s kind of the silver lining of this whole entire pandemic. Knowing that even though we’re apart, we’re never alone,” says Albert.

Albert founded an organization known as Hero in the Fight. His mission is to change how addiction is viewed and to prove that recovery is possible.

“One thing that Hero in the Fight is doing is we have alcohol free hygiene items we’ve been putting in bags. So that way we can kind of help out a little bit with people that need those items.  Anything we can do to help, you know, paying it forward, giving back and being there for one another, let people know they’re not alone.  Especially at a time like this,” says Albert.

His message to others in recovery is that there are brighter days ahead.

“As a person in recovery, the way I see it for me is, you know, I know what it’s like to have lost everything. I know what it’s like to sit in a treatment facility for 30, 60, 90 days in a building not being allowed to leave. So it’s going back to those kind of mentalities that I had. I’ve been here before. I know I can get through anything. And at the end of the day, I’m going to come out stronger, just like all of us,” says Albert.

Keira McGuire
Keira McGuire/WITF

Keira McGuire is a health reporter and multimedia producer for WITF. She hosts and produces Transforming Health television programs as well as other shows and documentaries for WITF’s Original Productions. McGuire produced the Emmy Award winning series HealthSmart for the last ten years. Keira previously worked at WBFF in Baltimore and WMDT in Salisbury as a reporter and anchor. She’s a graduate of Towson University.

Read more by Keira McGuire