My job is online and my meetings are online. My wife and I have been carrying on a private Zoom meeting every night at 7. It’s private in that it isn’t published anywhere, but we have asked everyone who comes to spread the word and invite anyone with a desire to stop drinking. There are usually four, five or six of us. It makes for some deep conversation, I think, deeper than happens at face to face meetings. Although I guess in this current situation, face to face meetings would be pretty intense.
I have noticed, and the group has remarked, how these circumstances make for lots of judgements on my part. We have heard of face to face meetings that are still meeting and we judge them. Someone works in Target and we judge the people shopping there for non-essentials. I judge someone who comes to the meeting but doesn’t use their camera and mutes their microphone. Are they observing? Having us go on in the background?
But those are the buzzes of lesser character defects and they do not dominate my current AA experience. The larger character defects of fear, anxiety, worry, gluttony – those give me more trouble and still I have a plan to work on them, a plan I’m familiar with that has enabled me to lessen them to an outstanding degree.
In AA we talk about the tools of the program. These are not physical tools but rather concepts we learn to apply to daily living that enable us to stay sober. As a recovering alcoholic in AA I was not able to stay sober on my own or through other means. I needed the program of AA. AA helped me stay sober in part by giving me tools and teaching me to use them.
Staying in the now is one of the most powerful tools. So often (not always, but often) my distress is focused on the past or the future. Staying in the now usually offers relief from the fear, anxiety, anger, remorse, os situations gone by or situations that haven’t happened yet.
And so. I’m privileged, as I’ve always been, in our current situation. I have everything I need today. I always have.
But also. I don’t know if I have a job beyond April 30. I don’t know when I’ll see my (adult) children or (elderly) mother. I don’t know if any or all of us will get sick and not be able to see each other. That’s a road that we currently all travel, and again I know that my metaphorical baggage is light and others have much heavier burdens to bear. I don’t know what will happen to the world. It seems in real jeopardy right now of a kind that hasn’t presented itself in my experience.
Meetings went online, and because my wife teaches at college she has a Zoom room. We’ve had a meeting every night for whoever wants to come. We’ve invited every one we know and we’ve invited them to spread the word but we haven’t publicized it, so there hasn’t been any problem with people crashing it.
The experience of being there with people I actually know is invaluable to me. I understand that I could by the grace of my computer attend meetings all over the world, but I don’t know what I’d be there beyond being a type of audience. The people in our meeting are mostly people I actually know and will see once we are allowed to meet again.
So, now. I have a job that’s gone online, and I’m grateful. It’s not quite the direct helping of people I’m used to but it may have some value when the program is able to reopen or when individual clients aren’t able to attend in the future. I have supplies, my loved ones have supplies. I have phones and computers to connect me to everyone I choose to be connected to. I don’t know what the future holds but I never really did. It remains a powerful tool to slow a racing heart and to remind an alcoholic not to drink. Staying in the now.