Focus Story – 100+ years of sobriety

7 November 2021

Preparing for the third week of my home group’s book study of the Grapevine book “Prayer and Meditation” I took some time to contemplate “where is this all going?”. We are doing the book study virtually and it seems to be working out. Our regular Saturday 11am meeting is now hybrid: we are a small group but attendance has balanced out between on-line and in-person attendees in a way that will be sustainable for the remainder of the “covid era” which will last who knows how long.

Where we are today is a good place. We have added several new faces (new to sobriety as well as new to us) which is helping us manage the hundred plus years of sobriety we lost when some members and regular attendees did not make the adjustment to on-line meetings. They are all doing fine as far as we know but we don’t expect to see them back any time soon.

As a group that has only one meeting per week, we have established Wednesday night as a second recovery resource. At first it was an opportunity to stay connected and socialize and was a helpful antidote to the isolation that the early lock-down brought on. In addition, social media apps were utilized and were open to non-group members, but there were issues with boundaries and primary purpose from time to time. Eventually the idea of book studies came to fruition; we had undertaken step studies on an annual basis throughout our group’s history although our most recent one ended after Step 5 because of covid. Book studies have helped to fill that void.

So this is the third book study we have undertaken as a group in the covid era and opens in my mind the possibility of a permanent Step 11 meeting in that time slot. What perhaps troubles me is the burden of Step 12 and the Responsibility Pledge: What is the best use of our group’s spiritual resources to help the still-suffering alcoholic? How best can we help the newcomer? And what about the older members who don’t feel comfortable attending in-person meetings but also don’t feel comfortable in the on-line format? We all thought covid would be over by now but it isn’t.

I wish some of the longtimers who don’t attend our meetings these days could help me answer these questions. The response could fill out an entire issue of Focus without a doubt.

The open meeting I have attended for many years has also “lost” hundreds of years of sobriety but I would not classify it as “struggling.” It continues to open its doors to all who have an interest in alcoholism and carries a strong message of recovery to those with a desire to stop drinking. It is comforting to me to know its doors will always be open on a Friday night.

So perhaps it boils down to this — how do we as a fellowship replace the wisdom of the hundreds (thousands) of years of sobriety lost to the covid era? Perhaps it is a local issue here with many retirees among our population but I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m sure more will be revealed in the next two years leading up to the 2025 International Convention in Vancouver which will also coincide with AA’s 90th Anniversary. In the meantime all we can do is keep our eyes and ears open as we trudge together on the road of happy destiny.

Al H.
District 19