24 Hour Helpline   510-839-8900 English       510-502-8560 Espanol      Helplines are staffed 24/7 by A.A. member volunteers who have solved their drinking problem.

Alcoholism Recovery Program

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