It all started in Chicago – Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous

It all started in Chicago

I was a power user of video conferencing at work for many years, but it never occurred to me that it would be possible to use it for AA meetings. And then the pandemic happened. Even then, it occurred to me, but I did nothing about it. But thankfully others did. When the shutdown happened, and all face-to-face meetings were closed, I was living in the Antelope Valley in California. A friend on Facebook invited me to an online Zoom meeting that was coming out of Chicago. I attended. There were lots of emotions in the meeting: Fear of what was happening worldwide, the unease of being dislocated from ones’ home group, and excitement that we were all sharing in a meeting. But there was something else in those early meetings. There was a fervor in the zoom room. And there was hope. I felt safe. I felt hope. And I had a strong sense that everything, as far as my program, was going to be all right. I was exactly where I needed to be. Within days of those Chicago meetings, my local AA began to have zoom meetings. And within days of that I moved 900 miles away to Oregon. I was able to stay connected to my old AA meetings (hosting one of them) and I was able to begin going to online meetings in my new location with people who lived in the area (and becoming a host there). Three years later, I still attend a couple of online meetings in my old location, a few in my new location, and I am a regular at a meeting that comes out of New Zealand. I have also started going back to face-to-face meetings and have enjoyed meeting the people who I was online with during the pandemic, including a couple of newcomers whom I sponsored remotely and who are still sober today. I participated in a six-month step study that took my program to the next level. I am 100% convinced that one can get/stay sober via an online program. It’s all about the effort I was willing to put in – going to any length has helped my program grow and my online program has shown me the universality of the program. It’s the same 12 Steps everywhere.