Recovery by Zoom

Recovery by Zoom

I knew it the instant I walked through the door.

Only six people attended my first Al-Anon meeting, but I knew I’d found a home.  One of the men recognized me.  Despite my frantic, misguided need to shield my son’s addiction, it didn’t matter.

What did matter was their stories were like mine.  Their faces bore the same weariness, the same sorrow.  They reached for tissues when the pain became unbearable.  We sat very still, as if any movement might add to our suffering.

The warm welcome eased my fears.  Kindness and keen listening ensured that I would – as Al-Anon encourages – “keep coming back.”

And I have.

For more than nine years my husband and I have attended a weekly Al-Anon meeting.  The hour humbles us.  It reminds us recovery happens one day at a time.

I also try to help others.

That’s a difficult task at any time – except now it is even harder.

COVID-19 has shut down nearly all face-to-face Al-Anon meetings, as well as for AA and other support groups.  These programs thrive on social connection.

What has replaced them is Zooming.   But Zoom can’t replace the close, physical connection within a church basement or civic hall.

My group – once 30-35 strong in person – has dwindled to 12-15 on weekly Zoom calls.  Other local meetings have folded.

My son tells me his AA home group in South Florida hasn’t survived online.  Another AA meeting near him has fallen from 120 people to 25 online.

So for now, it has to be tech over touch.

Still, I look forward to the smiling, serene faces on the screen each week.

Because in this time when recovery is so fragile for so many, these meetings offer what few places can – hope.


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