A sober woman living alone during the pandemic finds strength and fellowship by dialing numbers
When the Covid virus hit, it suddenly became no longer safe and acceptable to hold hands in our AA meetings and offer each other a friendly hug. Then the meetings closed down and I began my quarantine at home, working nine hours a day from my kitchen. I used to spend my last few years of drinking alone in my living room with vodka. So the idea of spending 24 hours every day in the same place I used to drink was unsettling.
Experience, strength and hope is central to my recovery. I live alone, so to fend off isolation I kept in close contact with my family, office coworkers and my fellow AAs. The dreaded phone now became a necessity. Soon I found myself looking forward to what would become almost daily conversations with someone who has become a dear AA friend. I’m so grateful for this relationship. Our conversations span many topics, ranging from classic movies to spiritual practices, pandemic tracking, and what life may be like post-pandemic. One of my favorite conversations turned into playing “name that tune” as he played tunes on an acoustic guitar.
However I still didn’t have a clue what I was going to do about AA meetings. The one slogan most emblazed in my brain is “don’t drink and go to meetings.” Luckily another friend in AA gave me a lifeline: He gave me a conference bridge number to this daily 7 p.m. meeting with the Blue Mountain Group. Every day is different. Monday is a Big Book meeting with speaker tapes; Tuesday is a speaker meeting; Friday is a Big Book meeting and so on.
Regardless of how crazy my thinking becomes—especially when I plummet into self-pity—I dial into the Blue Mountain Group and always hear about an easier, softer way. I love listening to the incredible shares on topics such as acceptance and gratitude. It strengthens my sober journey.
I’m learning that positive emotions can be a life raft in a world of uncertainty. Connecting, working with others, and applying the Steps throughout my day can not only help me, it can help those I care for and interact with throughout each day.
In April, in the middle of all this, my father passed away after a long struggle with cancer. I was able to be there for him, taking care of his needs between hospice visits. Not once during this time did I think of drinking. I don’t ever have to drink again, no matter what. Alcohol may be cunning, baffling and powerful, but the Fellowship of AA is so much stronger.
Big Book Pages 152 & 153
We have shown how we got out from under. You say, “Yes, I’m willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?”
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship, and so will you.
“How is that to come about?” you ask. “Where am I to find these people?”
You are going to meet these new friends in your own community. Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds. High and low, rich and poor, these are future fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!