Georgia support groups find new ways to connect during coronavirus

Recovering addicts are finding new ways to stay connected and sober despite weeks of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can think of Bill Whitney as one of several neighborhood “hope dealers.”

Twelve years into recovery, Whitney found his passion directing the Forsyth section of the “The Connection.”

It’s a website providing information about local recovery support groups.

With hubs in Atlanta, Cumming, Athens, Forsyth and more, its mission is critical during the coronavirus crisis.

"It’s an environment that’s ripe with opportunity to return to your old solution," Whitney said.

Much of the country is closed or shut in for social distancing, as thousands of recovering addicts are still in need of their lifelines like alcoholics or narcotics anonymous.

"Isolation, fear, stress, these can all be triggers for folks in recovery," Whitney said.

Thanks to The Connection, the same understanding ears who empathized  the same understanding ears who empathized in person are neatly listed in a virtual calendar and available in a new way.

"We can still see each other the same way we would in a meeting setting," he said.

Organizers say it's working.

"...we in 2 weeks have seen online meeting participation at double the rate that we’ve seen in person participation," Whitney explained.

So if you find yourself in a particularly low place, know that your neighborhood hope dealers, as Whitney calls his team, are just a few clicks away.

"Support and efficacy of the online support systems are here to stay," he said.