“Nothing can matter more to the future welfare of AA than the manner in which we use this colossus of communication.” —Bill W., 1960Audio Player00:0000:00
I have had amazing experiences already within virtual AA meetings, and over time I’ve come to the conclusion that there is very little difference between those and physical meetings—something that those members housebound or hospitalized with accessibility issues likely already know.
AA spoke about this very issue in a press release from the General Service Office titled “Physically Distanced but Digitally Connected: The Alcoholics Anonymous Message Carries on Amid Coronavirus”: “While many AA members are for the first time reporting the shift from in-person meetings to digital platforms, for many alcoholics around the world, remote connections and digital platforms are how they initially encountered and maintain their recovery in AA even prior to the pandemic.”
I’ve also noticed an enormous amount of newcomers gravitating to the Online Intergroup of AA, which makes perfect sense. After all, local meetings evolved online to keep connected and were shared by way of group dissemination—if one had no existing experience with AA, where else would one go?
Our cofounder Bill W. even made a wise observation as far back as November 1960 regarding technology changing the way we communicate in his Grapevine essay “Freedom Under God: The Choice is Ours”:
“A vast communication net now covers the earth, even to its remotest reaches. Granting all its huge public benefits, this limitless world forum is nevertheless a hunting ground for all those who would seek money, acclaim and power at the expense of society in general. Here the forces of good and evil are locked in struggle. All that is shoddy and destructive contests all that is best.
“Therefore, nothing can matter more to the future welfare of AA than the manner in which we use this colossus of communication. Used unselfishly and well, the results can surpass our present imagination. Should we handle this great instrument badly, we shall be shattered by the ego demands of our own people—often with the best of intention on their part. Against all this, the sacrificial spirit of AA’s anonymity at the top public level is literally our shield and our buckler. Here again we must be confident that love of AA, and of God, will always carry the day.”
These virtual meetings are a blessing to the Fellowship during this unprecedented time. Let’s use them wisely.