Zooming right along.
I’ve been attending a Zoom meeting every morning at 7 am, pretty much every day now that I’m not working. I even attended when we went away for Thanksgiving. This is far more AA than I’ve been to since I was new and attending 90 in 90. I’m still going to my regular Saturday night group most of the time. A meeting I used to go to in person on Sunday nights has moved to Zoom and I attend that. I also usually attend another meeting or two a week, and that is for a me a lot of meetings. The Saturday, Sunday, maybe another meeting is what I used to do before Covid and before I stopped working.
The Zoom every morning has been very interesting. My first ever AA meeting was in 1978, and I’ve attended more or less at least once a week, usually more, since then until now. In the late 90s I attended online meetings where you would type into a sort of chat what you wanted to say. It was tedious to say the least. As my kids got old enough to leave home alone I stopped doing online meetings until the shut down.
This online meeting meets every morning at 7 am. Between 70 and 90 people attend, with many regulars. There are a core of people who chair the meeting, bring up topics, and reliably share during the meeting. There’s a treasurer and a secretary and calendar keepers who keep track of who will chair. This meeting has “pop ups” where they gather in person out of doors once a month, and I went to one of those over the summer.
There are Zoom bombers who either play ridiculously (children with drawn on mustaches and eyebrows telling us how long they’ve been sober) or taken over with disgusting pornography and hateful messages in the chat. An online intergroup has been formed and this meeting has a representative.
People from around the world visit this meeting and that is amazing. Some of them want to tell their story, which isn’t fun. I picture these folks going from meeting to meeting wanting to command the attention of internet strangers. The chat is left open, and people post encouraging messages and quotes from relevant literature.
For me, and for others who have commented, this meeting gives me a structure that not working has taken away. I set my alarm for 630 and sometimes hit the snooze. If I fall back to sleep I always make it out of bed by 7, almost always before. As I listen to the before meeting chatter I try to feed the cat (I offer him food anyway), make coffee, arrange myself. As the announcements go on (too long, but I don’t comment because I haven’t joined the meeting because I don’t want a venmo account) I check email or real estate and by the time they’re ready, I’m ready.
This is just a miraculous development in my AA life, one that I never imagined. It would concern me at times that there may be a day when I can no longer attend meetings but want to, but now we have people in hospitals and nursing homes attending. I’m grateful that I get to experience this evolution in AA meetings. I can try to imagine what it’s like for people just coming in, and I can imagine my younger, introverted self never venturing out in person if online had been an option back then. But my imagination can’t capture the true essence of what’s going on in this new reality. It’s added so much to my personal experience of “the program.”