The coronavirus pandemic is impacting daily life in ways many of us never imagined, including the addiction recovery community.
That community and its support network are working to make certain that those in recovery are able to participate in group and sponsor meetings ensuring that recovery continues during this difficult time and that they get the understanding and support they need. Many meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous sessions, are hosted by Catholic parishes, which allow the use of their church or parish halls and meeting rooms.
Efforts are being made to keep the sessions as effective as possible while observing federal and state guidelines that dictate no more than 10 people should gather together. Also, in many states including Ohio, there are stay-at-home orders in place. Ohioans are asked not to leave their homes except for food, medical appointments and other essential reasons.
Diocesan officials have been in contact with many organizations that have provided them with connections and resources that could be helpful for those in the AA community. A list of alternative possibilities for attending a virtual AA meeting can be found below. The resources are within the eight-county Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Those who are aware of other resources are asked to forward them to dioceseofcleveland.org/contact so they can be shared.
AA, which was founded in 1935 in Akron, has strong ties to the Diocese of Cleveland. Rosary Hall at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in downtown Cleveland, was founded by Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin, CSA, in conjunction with Dr. Robert Smith, who co-founded AA.
The primary reason for in-person AA meetings is not so much for therapy as it is to offer a place for newcomers to meet others in recovery and to find a sponsor as they begin to get involved with the program’s 12 steps.
Involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous varies from person to person, but typically, a member of AA attends meetings at least once a week (often more frequently), and has regular meetings with a sponsor, who is usually a member with more years in recovery offering guidance through the 12 steps of recovery.
Here is a list of possible resources:
A long list of on line phone and video conference meetings
- AA chat room and online meetings
- 2 p.m. (EST) daily free dial in worldwide meeting
- 425-436-6360 then dial access code 422932#
Looking for help to chair phone meetings: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Other online AA FB virtual meetings: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2528707494114686/
- TGCHHO “Trust God Clean House Help Other
Phone apps for archived meetings and leads:
- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stepsAudio&hl=en_US or search 12 steps speakers in Apps
Top 50 AA speeches of all time: https://www.rehab4addiction.co.uk/resources/best-aa-speeches-all-time
More great leads: https://hacoaa.org/archives/speakers/
Reach out and call two or three people a day from your home group roster, especially those on the fringes.
- Helping others, helps me.
FaceTime a few people and have a live meeting. Pick a reading for the day and share.
- Recovery books on: https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/thought-for-the-day
Use a videoconference app like zoom to add larger groups: https://zoom.us/
- The free version offers hosting up to 100 people with a simple link that can be emailed or texted to others. There is a 40-minute limit on group meetings and an unlimited number of meetings. For a fee, the options can be expanded.
“Be assured of our prayers for each of you during these very challenging times. Please join us in prayer for all especially for those who have gotten ill, for those who have died from the virus and for all who have lost a loved one to this frightening virus,” said Sister Rita Mary Harwood, SND, diocesan secretary for parish life and development..
“As you go through this time of uncertainty, please remain peaceful in the awareness that you are not alone, that you are deeply loved. We live and continue this journey in the assurance of the promise God has made to each one of us: ‘Remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the ages,’” she added.