In attempts to mitigate the rampant spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the state and federal governments have brought many aspects of everyday life to a screeching halt. As these restrictions are slowly lifted, much of the clarity surrounding safety remains unclear. This can be partly attributed to the fact that some government entities are not necessarily following recommendations from scientific experts to assure the publics physical safety, by continuing to take steps to minimize the spread of this deadly virus. For individuals struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction, one of the fundamental resources in maintaining sobriety is attending support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/ or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). With the government placing restrictions on the number of individuals allowed to gather, including those partaking in religiously affiliated meeting (i.e. church, synagogues, mosques…etc.) for a time, AA meetings were no exception. According to an article published by The New York Times, the banning of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings posed a serious threat to an individual’s ability to maintain sobriety, as it placed all onus on an individual to remain sober without the assistance of a once relied upon a support group.
One of the most helpful pillars of AA is its widespread meeting locations and availability across not only America, but also the world. Alcoholics Anonymous is often considered to be a lifeline for individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction, as relying on community is an important aspect of remaining sober. With the need to close its literal doors, the organization needed to pivot quickly to provide its members with an option to participate in meetings in a virtual setting. While this created many challenges in terms of accessibility to devices (i.e. computers, tablets, smartphones) for its members, as well as publicly providing log-in information, especially with the newfound “Zoom-bombing” that has occurred, AA has persevered in providing its members with meeting options.
Alcoholics Anonymous sent out a memo towards the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, on March 19th, 2020, to explain how they planned to remain accessible to its members. It described its intentions to continue to uphold the AA standards in a digital setting, providing individuals with a platform and resource center from which to navigate shared experiences. The various meetings that were held in person, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, provided an array of different foci, held in different languages, and/ or had different specializations, all under the larger umbrella of Alcoholics Anonymous. This remains the case for virtual meetings, even with in-person meetings being largely disbanded. The website for AA provide various options in many time zones and across a plethora of platforms (i.e. Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, e-mail, phone…etc.) from which members are able to choose.
There is no exact date that all AA meetings are set to reopen to meet in person, as each state in America is reopening at different times and at different rates. Locating an AA meeting is the same process regardless of whether a meeting is held in person or virtually. The option to participate in virtual meetings will remain available to members for as long as is necessary. In terms of locating a specific meeting to attend post the coronavirus stay-at-home orders are lifted, it is important to note that for a time, the rules surrounding the number of individuals allowed to congregate may be limited. Although one of the most convenient components of AA, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, was the ability to drop into an open meeting, after Covid-19, this aspect of dropping into an open meeting may no longer be as simple. Especially for the time being, it may be best to call and/ or contact a specific AA meeting prior to taking advantage of the once effortless drop in method.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.