By Adam P., Oakland

On March 16, 2020 most of the East Bay issued shelter in place orders, directing residents to stay home except for essential tasks.  As a college professor I was asked to transition all my face-to-face classes to fully online classes.  My job was the only reason I believed I wasn’t an alcoholic.  I didn’t drink before or while I taught for the past two decades, so I figured I wasn’t out of control, that I didn’t have a problem. 

The shift to online teaching was the beginning of the end for me.  I had already told my wife, now ex-wife, that I would go to rehab over the summer when I had “more time.”  I didn’t make it to the end of April.  My wife left me on April 24.  I proceeded to go on what would be my last epic bender.  I awoke after that weekend of drinking not sure where I went or who I was with.  I had what people in Alcoholics Anonymous refer to as a “god-shot,” a moment of clarity where I realized I would die if I didn’t get help for my drinking. 

On April 29, my sobriety day, I entered rehab.  After 3 weeks in rehab, I started an intensive outpatient program.  I also entered the “rooms” of A.A., or I guess I should say the “galleries” of A.A.  You see, I’ve never been to an in-person meeting of A.A., and I can say with absolute certainty that without Zoom I wouldn’t be where I am right now, 329 days sober and having worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

On May 14, I set a goal to go to 90 meetings in 90 days, and because of Zoom, I went to 134 meetings in 90 days.  By June I had secretary positions at two meetings, a co-hosting position at another meeting, and even found a home group.  I also found my sponsor through Zoom.  And through Zoom I learned about the steps and the experiences other members had in recovery. 

Early in the pandemic I constantly heard other members say how impossible it seemed to get sober on Zoom, that in-person meetings and the fellowshipping that accompanied them were better.  It sounded great to me, and I look forward to that first in-person meeting.  But I did find my group of people and fellowship through Zoom.  Over time I was able to fill my phone with numbers of people in Alcoholics Anonymous.

 I was so isolated in my drinking but Zoom connected me with people who saved my life, who showered me with love until I could love myself, who gave me faith that being in A.A. was not shameful, who proved to me I was worthy and enough for a sober life.  Zoom has drawbacks no doubt, but until I’m able to see a brick-and-mortar A.A. meeting room, with the slogans I’ve heard in the galleries on the walls, I’ll take Zoom, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Adam P.’s home group is The Late Show, Monday-Sunday, 10pm, Oakland