By Jen King
Don’t isolate! This was a fair warning I heard often when I was getting sober, “stay connected, stay in the middle, go to lots of meetings!” This has worked for me to stay sober for over six years, but what happens when a pandemic comes to town and I am told to stay safer at home? What if I don’t feel safer at home because of my alcoholism, because of the isolation and disconnection that comes with it. What will distract me from the increase in alcohol ads I am seeing on social media and on tv?
Routines, I thrive when I keep to my routines, but my routines can be easily interrupted by excuses. How many times have I not gone to a meeting because I didn’t want to drive, I was tired or hungry ? There’s been times my social anxiety was so high, I drove to the meeting and I couldn’t even get out of my car and go in. More than not though my weekly routine was going to recovery meetings.
After the first week of the Covid 19 shut down I heard some local meetings were going online to the Zoom platform. I was resistant at first, probably that same social anxiety even though I was sitting alone at home during a pandemic. Once I did my first online meeting I wanted to go to more. I’m honestly able to attend more recovery meetings now. Most meetings I have Zoomed into have technical assistance and a contact person for questions. I Googled directions on how to use Zoom, and a list of recovery meetings in my area. When I go into a virtual meeting I may see some familiar smiling faces. I have the option to speak or just listen, I can leave my camera
turned off or I can be the speaker or chair person. Most importantly for me, I’m there, I’m ending isolation! I’m hearing something positive, it’s keeping with my routine, and it’s what I would want to do for my recovery regardless of my excuses.
Going to online meetings has been a way of finding myself safer at home. It’s allowed me to stay active in recovery, even during a pandemic. I’m amazed at the recovery community for picking up the Zoom meetings right away, keeping the doors open and the lights on so to speak.
Zoom meetings are available by phone or computer.
Links to Smart Recovery, AA and NA online recovery meetings in Madison,Wi: