As I previously mentioned, getting and staying sober in a pandemic can be quite a challenge. However, the great news is that there are resources available for you.
My recovery consists of two primary components: The program, and the fellowship. The program is the steps and the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. I learn those from the Big Book and by working with my sponsor. The fellowship can be found in AA Meetings. Now, this is where the challenge comes in - typically, when we're not in a pandemic, physical, in-person meetings can be found near you using the Meeting Guide app. This app still works - but the fact that it uses your phones GPS meeting to find meetings located geographically close to you now seems pretty irrelevant since these meetings are happening online.
So let's take a look at using this app as well as other resources to find meetings online.
Meeting Guide App
The app is owned and maintained by the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's free to download and can be found on the Google Play store, and the Apple App store.
Brought to you by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., Meeting Guide is a free of charge meeting finder app for iOS and Android that provides meeting information from A.A. service entities in an easy-to-access format.
Meeting Guide syncs with area, district, intergroup/central offices and international General Service Office websites (some of which are listed on A.A. Near You), relaying meeting information from more than 300 A.A. service entities directly to you. Over 100,000 weekly meetings are currently listed, and the information is refreshed twice daily.
This app gives A.A. service entities full control of their local meeting information while collecting it in one place, making it easy for anyone to find a meeting. Local entities provide their meeting information voluntarily. Meeting Guide users can suggest additions or corrections to meeting listings by using links provided within the app to contact the local service entity responsible for the information.
Once you install the app and launch it - it will ask for your permission to use your location. This is so that it can help you find meetings close to where you are physically located.
Seaching for meetings online
You may not be interested in using the Meeting Guide app - or perhaps you don't have or use a smart phone. There are still ways to find meetings online. The best way is to use a search engine, like Google, or Bing.
Type in something like "aa meetings online". You may get a load of rehabs in your search results - but if you look closely you'll see links to sites like the following:
These sites will list meetings, some of which will be online, some may be in person. As I write this, we're still restricted to a limited number of individuals that can be present at an in-person meeting... so keep looking, you'll find links to zoom meetings.
Zoom is the most popular remote meeting platform. So when you find a meeting, they may reference a Zoom meeting id. This is simply the code you'll use to get into the meeting. Take note - if the meeting is linked, it may take you right to https://zoom.us. It will ask you to install the Zoom app.
When you get into an online meeting, there will likely be a number of other people in the meeting and you'll be able to see their faces. You may feel weird about showing your face on camera... try to find that fear. Or don't and just leave your camera off. I recommend turning your camera on, however... let people get to know you. They're going to be willing to help you figure this out.
Have questions? Contact me and I'll try to help.