Revised Jan 2024
Every morning at 7:15 a.m. Central Time, there is an online open meeting of our AA Fellowship: Eye Openers Online. That meeting began in March 2020 as an unplanned and hastily-created alternative to in-person home group meetings at the time when those customary meetings were suspended due to COVID considerations. The home group was based in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, and the original online participants had been regulars at the in-person meetings.
Within one week Eye Openers Online had attracted new participants both from the local area and from distant locations. The regulars of the online meeting included AA members from Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New York, and Mexico. We currently have regulars in Canada, Massachusetts, Florida, Tennessee, and California (despite the extremely early hour on the Pacific coast). Our daily meetings are often chaired by members from outside the New Orleans area. Trying to list all of the locations of the regulars is a risky task, because presently about half of the regulars are local, and the other half are from the rest of the world.
Our meetings are grounded in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. We attempt to help newcomers find sponsors, and some of us work online with sponsees, as we carry the message. Many of us may have held some misgivings about the effectiveness and legitimacy of online meetings, but we recently celebrated the third anniversary of a member who began her sobriety with us.
On the 2023 Founders’ Day weekend, the metro New Orleans AA groups held their 55th Annual Big Deep South Convention. The convention had been suspended in 2020, went virtual in 2021, returned to in-person in 2022, and was in full force in 2023. The local Eye Openers Online regulars were joined by members from three different distant cities, and we met one another in person for the first time. We hadn’t planned any sort of an event, but it was obvious from the number of our online regulars attending the Big Deep South Convention that ours was the largest representation of any group at the convention.
Our meeting is now a part of aa-intergroup.org. We have met every day since March 22, 2020, with no time out for holidays or hurricanes.
The Foreword to the Fourth Edition of the Big Book reiterates that “we are people who normally would not mix.” Few of us before 2020 would be able to regularly associate with AA members in other cities. But that Foreword (written in 2001) also tells us that the language of the heart can be heard “modem-to-modem or face-to-face.”
The things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.
~written by Mike B, Eye Openers Online