FALMOUTH (CBS) – When the pandemic hit, alcohol sales soared. Last spring, market research firm Nielsen reported a 55-percent increase in liquor sales as cities and states across the country were starting to lock down.
A Massachusetts native teaching middle school in the Midwest, Chris Atkins figured he was just like everyone else.READ MORE: Janey Did 'The Only Thing She Could Do' In Firing Dennis White, Former BPD Commissioner Ed Davis Says
“I started drinking little by little, nothing out of control right away,” he said.
But after a few weeks, the isolation or remote teaching started to get to him. He missed seeing his students and coaching baseball.
“Now it’s Zoom and I may have had an Irish coffee,” he said, describing how he would pour a drink during class.
To make matters worse, he tested positive for coronavirus.
“I had to quarantine for 14 days. That’s when I lost all control over myself and the person I was before,” Atkins said.
A friend found Atkins passed out on his floor. She called his mother back in Massachusetts.
“It was so hard,” Lori Kidd said, recalling that phone call.
“When I heard the tears in her voice, I knew I needed help,” Chris said.
That help came at Gosnold Treatment Center’s Miller House on Cape Cod. Chris received counseling, group therapy and made important connections with other residents who were also battling addiction.READ MORE: Son Charged With Murdering 80-Year-Old Mother Inside Lynn Home
“I’m doing great,” he said, looking forward to a future he hopes will someday include a return to the classroom and the baseball field.
“Right now there is an overwhelming number of people who need mental health and substance abuse services,” explained Allie Anderson, the Chief Clinical Officer for Gosnold.
According to Anderson, the facility has seen a 30-percent increase in people seeking treatment for alcohol during the pandemic.
“People that normally had been able to hide their use were no longer able to because they were at home and they still needed to continue to use,” she explained.
According to data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in-patient treatment for alcohol and drugs actually went down during the pandemic. But, Andersen pointed out that because insurances are now required to pay for telehealth services, many of their patients are being treated virtually.
“It has absolutely improved and increased the number of people reaching out for support,” she said.
But there is a concern that when the emergency declaration is lifted, some insurances may not continue to cover telehealth services.
For Chris, in-patient services at the Miller House have been life-changing.
“I walked through this door broken, shattered and beyond scared of what my future would bring. I’ve learned to love myself. I have learned to respect myself,” he said.MORE NEWS: Vigil Planned For 17-Year-Old Who Drowned At Dedham Graduation Party
For more information on the Miller House, click here.