EDMONTON -- Joshua Lupaschuk is a recovering addict. He depends on the Salvation Army Transformations Addictions Centre for his sobriety, but as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some addiction centres have been forced to suspend their programs.

"We lost our sitting areas, we lost our group, our groups that we have we no longer have any meetings," said the 24-year-old Lupaschuk. “I depend on it every day. It's what keeps me sober.”

“COVID has changed for us the loss of structure and the loss of staff,” he added.

It’s a similar situation at Edmonton’s Central Alcoholics Anonymous office, where in-person meetings have also been suspended. They are closed to walk-in traffic and visits are by appointment only.

Meanwhile, Our House, a 60-bed adult male residential treatment centre in the city’s west end, has been forced to temporarily close its doors to all new intakes. Group meetings will continue for those within the house.

"Right now we have an isolation room set up so right now our rooms are shared accommodations, two men to a room, so we'll be able to move somebody into an isolation room and we'll keep them isolated in that room,” said Our House Executive Director Mark MacKenzie. “If we have two cases we'll close the doors immediately."

"It's frustrating because my programming, my residential programming has stopped and I'm now considered a resident of Salvation Army,” stated Lupaschuk. "It's causing us to mingle with the other population who are also susceptible and have current addictions and current addiction problems.”

When asked what the worst-case scenario would be Lupaschuk was quick to answer: "The biggest worry right now is relapse. The fact that having to go back out on the street and have no stability or structure that maintains my sobriety.

“It's a scary thought."