How am I supposed to stay sober during this? There are no stories of experience, strength, and hope during a plague! I’ve checked the Big Book. What do we do now?
I’m writing this while on lockdown due to COVID-19. I had big plans coming up: It’s my brother’s birthday, two concerts lined up, and friends visiting! All this was hijacked by a lousy microscopic virus. Not fair.
OK, so “one day at a time.” Instead of dwelling in the past (I wish I’d celebrated earlier with my brother), or projecting (What if I get sick...or my husband or brother or neighbor? What if…what if…), why not stay where my feet are? The sun is shining right now; it’s early spring, and things are blooming, birds are singing. I’m perfectly healthy and I’m following all the latest health alerts to stay that way. Not bad. Just for today, I’m content. I have time to pray today for those in trouble with COVID—or alcoholism.
So how do I pray during such a colossal planetary crisis? I’ve had several friends who’ve lost a parent in the last three weeks. I’ve even been to Shiva—on my computer! It’s really overwhelming. Where’s the Higher Power in all of this? I have prayed to a Higher Power through the deaths of both of my parents and even during the 80 mph winds of Hurricane Sandy. I stayed sober through it all. So, I guess I’ll turn the planet over to my Higher Power. I’m not in charge today—and I’m not alone—and that’s comforting.
Our literature says alcoholics even stayed sober during a World War, while cut off from sober friends and family. Sobriety, apparently, isn’t just limited to church basements. A month ago, I had never heard of virtual AA meetings. Now it’s my connection to my AA groups, sponsees and friends. I’ve been reaching out in our “virtual meetingland” almost every day now. Imagine if Bill W. and Dr. Bob could see this! Reaching out the hand of AA looks so different now. Luckily for us, change is not a bad thing.
It’s now been 85 years, and AA has gotten us through many difficult things. Today, as we share our experience, strength, and hope on our phones and computers, there’s laughter, relief, jokes, smiles, even toilet-paper memes. Our sharing helps lighten the dark places in our lives. It helps bring me closer to my fellows.
I’m an introvert and relish a great deal of alone time. I am wonderfully blessed (spoiled) to have a sober husband of whom I’m still quite fond after 35 years together. We attend our virtual AA meetings; we laugh and pray together and encourage each other. Many of us have access to each other and to the Fellowship, literally at the push of a button. But not everyone has this blessing. If you don’t have AA literature at home, you can easily find it on the Internet: aa.org and aagrapevine.org can help you.
Every day, pandemic or not, I need to fill my mind with positive sober messages and hope as an antidote to the 24/7 news cycle. Some days it’s not easy, but this too shall pass; we will be face to face again, hopefully, soon. I am hoping to not take your hugs for granted ever again.
We need each other for sobriety; Bill and Dr. Bob found this out 85 years ago, as two drunks who got together and said, I won’t drink, just for today.