The concepts of community and unity are both main factors when it comes to maintaining sobriety–but what happens when you can no longer meet in person because of a pandemic?
Public information chair for Alcoholics Anonymous for the southern half of Wisconsin, Chris S., tells WTMJ that most AA meetings are now done via virtual platforms.
He says he’s noticing more people logging on to platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for group meetings, but he also says virtual isn’t the same as in person.
“What I’ve observed is that this may be particularly hard on alcoholics who need that community and who need the unity aspect that they’re used to finding at in person meetings, which isn’t the same on a virtual platform,” said Chris S.
Chris S. has been sober for about 8 years now. WTMJ’s Melissa Barclay asked him what it was like when he first got sober and what some of his challenges were in the beginning.
“First I thought that I was going to have to deal with this through sheer force of will…I just had to ‘will’ myself to change my behavior. What we come to find out about alcoholism is–I can’t say that’s never successful for any of us but it doesn’t tend to have a lot of success. The nature of this disease is somewhat unique in the sense that the disease tells you that you don’t have it,” Chris S. explains.
Reports say more people are drinking during the pandemic.
According to a recent study alcohol consumption has increased considerably during the pandemic especially with females, with women increasing their heavy drinking events by 41%.
The Centers for Disease Control say long-term heath effects from alcohol consumption include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems, cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
If you think you might need help- keep an open mind.
“This isn’t like getting married. You’re not making a commitment that is etched in stone… what does it hurt to check it out?” said Chris S.
If you need help curbing your alcohol consumption, check out these websites for more information: