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For those struggling with alcoholism, there are online options | READER COMMENTARY

Twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can be an effective form of rehabilitation but it can be a challenge to make that connection during the coronavirus outbreak.
Twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can be an effective form of rehabilitation but it can be a challenge to make that connection during the coronavirus outbreak.(Dreamstime)

For recovering alcoholics, “Go to a meeting,” is the answer to most problems. Want to drink? Go to a meeting. Lost your job? Go to a meeting. Getting a divorce? Go to a meeting. Understandably, many of us wondered how Alcoholics Anonymous would manage without the benefit of in-person meetings. One writer predicted many would relapse and lives would be forever ruined.

As the coronavirus pandemic approached and it became clear that in-person meetings were no longer advisable, scores of A.A. meetings in the Baltimore area and across the country have gone from church basements to online forums, like Zoom, seemingly overnight (“Maryland up to at least 349 cases of coronavirus after largest one-day jump in total confirmed cases,” March 24).

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Like everything that happens in A.A., it’s been the work of anonymous, mostly unpaid members. Thanks to their efforts and the marvels of modern technology, an alcoholic in the U.S. can be in virtual A.A. meetings round the clock. The only thing missing is the cup of bad coffee and the musty smell of the church basement.

Using Zoom, I attended a meeting in New England one night with more than 100 people from around the country and a few from other continents. The next morning, I logged into a meeting with just five or so members present. All of us were amazed by how the message of recovery stays the same regardless of the situation.

Like the rest of the world, recovering alcoholics are struggling with the isolation and fear that the pandemic has triggered. But unlike the rest of the world, we have a great tool to help cope and to connect, one day at a time. Our fellowship, founded in the 1930s by a New York stockbroker and an Akron doctor has evolved yet again to meet the needs of the era.

To anyone concerned about their drinking during these challenging times, I encourage you to contact your local A.A. intergroup and ask for a directory of online meetings.

An A.A. member

The Baltimore Sun is withholding the writer’s name to honor the tradition of anonymity in media among A.A. members.

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