A group that needs face-to-face interaction is being forced to take meetings online because of COVID-19.
Alcoholics Anonymous in Chilliwack has a full slate of meetings every week, giving recovering alcoholics a safe space to be accountable to others and share their struggles.
“Normally, we have 10 daily meetings and 34 total meetings per week ranging from five or six people to the big Friday or Saturday night groups where there are sometimes 70 people,” said Tracy G., a recovering alcoholic who serves as Chilliwack AA’s communications director.
But with increasingly strict measures going into effect to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Chilliwack AA is responding by utilizing the ZOOM platform.
The ZOOM app is available on smart phones, tablets and computers and creates an online forum. It is as good as it gets in the short term trying to provide an environment that will keep recovering alcoholics on track.
“I think everybody is very hesitant because it’s new, but I’ve already been online and done three meetings and to see those familiar faces, the people I know, is very comforting,” Tracy noted. “You get online and there’s this person or that person there and thank God we’re still all here.
“We’re all still feeling the same feelings. We’re all scared. But we’re there, and as long as we don’t drink today, we’ll be OK.”
Two daily meetings are set up right now, at 9 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., and more will be added to the schedule and posted online at chilliwackaa.com.
“In the past we tried to quit drinking on our own in several different ways, and we found we couldn’t do it alone,” Tracy explained. “This fellowship is to remind us what it was like, what happened and what we’re like now.
“There’s this common bond where it doesn’t matter if you’re a poor guy off the street or you’re living in the $3-million mansion. Our problem is the same and this is where we can connect and be like-minded with one solution – not to drink today. Just for today.”