Friday, April 3, 2020

Face-to-face meetings are off for now, but the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous continues on Zoom and other platforms

From JSOnline:


The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book lays out the 12 steps that people in AA follow in recovery. (Photo: Liz Dufour)

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings simply don’t get canceled, not during a snowstorm or a heatwave or on holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving (in fact the holidays are when an AA meeting may be most needed).
But the coronavirus pandemic did what nothing else could: It led to the abrupt cancelation of thousands of AA meetings in Wisconsin and across the country and world.
Having been a part of this fellowship for more than 13 years, I couldn’t quite believe it when a fellow AA member texted to say the church where we meet once a week was closed and our meeting with it. As I sit here today, it makes perfect sense, but when I first saw that text, a couple of weeks ago, it seemed unthinkable.
I panicked. How would I survive?
But I soon realized I was selling us short. As a group, it’s been noted, alcoholics are often over-achievers. And resourceful. If nothing else, we are determined. When not channeled for good, some of us have wound up in gutters, sometimes quite literally. We find ways to get what we want — whether it’s drugs or alcohol or something positive.
Knowing that our sobriety — and our lives — depended on the fellowship, we pivoted when this crisis arose. Immediately.
What followed with our group and many like it was truly inspiring: AA groups quickly launched virtual meetings on apps like Zoom. One of the meetings I attend got it together so swiftly that we didn’t miss a week.
I was thrilled but a little skeptical. On that first night as I waited for the Zoom room to fill, I wondered how well we could relate over screens. But as the familiar faces appeared, one after the other, I experienced a great comfort, seeing the folks I have become so accustomed to sitting with every week. The talk was deep and powerful.

"Knowing that our sobriety — and our lives — depended on the fellowship . . ."  I stopped going to AA meetings after 11 years.  I've been sober for nearly 27 years now.  Meetings are not crucial to sobriety, nor does the Big Book state so.

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