Last week, we wrote about a team of researchers who sought to determine the most effective method for achieving long-term recovery. The study authors found that Alcoholics Anonymous leads to increased rates and lengths of abstinence compared with other therapies.
While the recent research is welcome news on so many levels, millions of people are finding it challenging to attend meetings of late. You can probably discern the reason why: COVID-19.
In California, there are 675 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and 16 deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The agency reports that an estimated 16,900 tests had been conducted in California (as of 6 p.m. Tuesday); at least 6,300 results have been received, and more than 10,000 are pending.
In the nation’s most populated state, there is a high likelihood that Californians will suffer significantly before this crisis is over. It’s paramount that you do all that you can do protect your health and your recovery.
At this time, you might be wondering how you are supposed to maintain your sobriety without the aid of 12 Step meetings. It’s an excellent question, and we hope to answer it in this post and provide you with essential information to help you keep your recovery intact despite current limitations.
Addiction Recovery in the Digital World
While meeting face to face with others is one of the pillars of 12 Step recovery, a pandemic makes accomplishing that untenable. That’s not to say some groups are not still meeting, but that may not be the case in the near future.
You must take steps now to ensure you can maintain your program in relative isolation. Fortunately, smartphones and the internet are a lifeline that most individuals can rely on for connecting with their support group and sponsor.
According to the General Service Office (G.S.O.) of Alcoholics Anonymous – a repository of shared group experience and functions as a resource center for A.A. members and groups – many groups are meeting online. 12 Step groups across the country are already utilizing digital video conferencing platforms. The G.S.O. shared in a statement what the groups who are still meeting in person are doing to prevent disease transmission. The resource center reports that members of the community are avoiding physical contact and have suspended food hospitality.
Each local chapter and A.A. Intergroup has the right to handle the public health crisis as they choose. However, the G.S.O. reminds each individual that they are responsible for their own health decisions. If you decide to forgo meetings, then it’s critical that you make arrangements for keeping in close contact with your support network. Physical isolation doesn’t mean refraining from communication.
Please call your sponsor every day and reach out to your peers as much as possible. Look into how you can conduct 12 Step meetings online; it could be a while before it’s safe to gather in large groups again. The G.S.O. points out that local A.A. entities are adding information to their websites about how to change a meeting format from “in-person” to online.
“Those who may have questions regarding A.A. Anonymity Traditions on digital platforms can review: the Conference-approved pamphlet, Understanding Anonymity and the G.S.O. Service Material Anonymity Online and Digital Media and the A.A. Guidelines on the Internet.”
Southern California Addiction Recovery Center
If you are in need of addiction treatment, please know that Hope by the Sea is following the C.D.C. guidelines regarding COVID-19. We offer several evidence-based programs and utilize the 12 Step recovery method. Please contact us today to begin your life-changing journey of recovery.