I got sober on Zoom during COVID. The zooms of AA saved my life. I had gone to AA meetings nine years earlier for about six months. I would string together a month or two and go back out. I was trying to run the show, but the seed of AA was planted. I kept my Big Book buried deep in my closet.
I am surprised I didn’t throw it away; I certainly didn’t acknowledge its existence. I spent the next years of my life remembering that phrase I heard in the rooms, “you are only as sick as your secrets,” as I began to accrue more and more secrets, getting sicker and sicker in my disease.
Enter 2020, I was a single mom experiencing a global pandemic and my drinking continued to spiral. I was afraid to leave my house, except to get my alcohol. Somehow, the thought of getting COVID was less frightening than the thought of not drinking. I was broken, depressed and miserable.
I truly did not think I had anything good to offer the world, let alone my son. I knew I needed to find an answer, but I didn’t want AA to be the answer. I started reading books that I thought would be my solution, which helped me for a few hours or a few days, but that was it. The Big Book remained buried in my closet.
Next, I decided social media would get me sober. I started joining social media groups which reminded me that misery loves company. There were brief glimpses of hope, but it was still up to me to stop drinking. The problem was me, so none of these worked for long. One of the groups for sober moms posted about an AA meeting on Zoom. Before I could think too much about it, I decided to check it out.
Tuesday morning at 7am, I signed on to my first Zoom AA meeting. The very first face I saw was a beautiful woman who was smiling, friendly and kind. I was broken, hung over and desperate. She told me that the women in the program would love me until I could love myself. That first woman became my sponsor. The woman who shared about the Zoom meeting in the sober mom group ended up being my sobriety sister with the same sponsor. I don’t believe in coincidences; I believe in God.
Four days into Zoom meetings I had a sponsor and we got to work. I did everything my sponsor suggested, even on Zoom. I did 90 in 90, worked my Steps and did service. It was suggested I start my day with prayer, readings, and journaling. It was suggested I call three sober women a day, and I was cold calling women all over the country. It was suggested I introduce myself in meetings as a newcomer for two weeks. It was suggested I go to the same meetings each week so people could get to know me.
I did just that, I went to the same meetings every day of the week for seven months. Some were local and some were in different parts of the country. I attended Big Book, Twelve and Twelve, Topic Discussion, and Lead meetings. I even attended Group Conscience sessions on Zoom which showed me how to apply the Traditions to AA groups and to my life.
I learned about service on the district, area, and regional levels. I mainly attended women’s meetings but found some wonderful mixed meetings too. I met some of the kindest people in my life and most importantly, even during this time of world isolation, I did not feel alone. I felt more connected than ever to other alcoholics and to my God.
After those seven months, I stepped into an in-person meeting. I was nervous that it wouldn’t be the same and it wasn’t. I learned it doesn’t have to be the same to be meaningful. It was also a transition to not practice my Zoom habits in the rooms. I waved at people when they introduced themselves for weeks, like I had done in the Zoom Brady Bunch type squares!
I had worked all my Steps at this point and my sponsor was walking me through the Traditions. I was grateful for the foundation that I built on Zoom because it helped me transition into the rooms. I found more similarities than differences, which is true of all parts of program when I relate in instead of identifying out.
I now attend both Zoom and in-person meetings, with more of an emphasis on in-person. I still attend my first homegroup on Zoom which is now at 6am on Tuesdays. I am GSR for my current in-person homegroup. I have sponsored both on Zoom and in-person. I continue to do service in both too. My sponsor came to visit me at eight months sober! She still lives in another state, and she is still guiding me through sobriety, sharing her experience, strength and hope every day.
I am on round two of my steps, digging out the boxes further back in my storage unit. I have a sober best friend in another state whom I have yet to meet and know I will. I have a tribe of sober sisters in town too. I do life with all these women. I live in immense gratitude for all the supports, and love how the message of AA transcends through all mediums.
I am so grateful that the rooms of AA transferred to Zoom. I am grateful I was desperate enough and willing enough to do anything to stay sober. I have learned that once you put down the drink and work the steps, the Promises do come true! I have also learned that life continues to get… lifey, and with the tools of AA, I can maintain my serenity amongst the stormiest of storms. I live in this gratitude daily and try to carry the message on zoom, in the rooms or wherever the hand of AA is needed.
By Therese C.