DOING AA DURING QUARANTINE: THE 5 BIG BENEFITS OF AA VIRTUAL MEETINGS

AA Phone Meetings

The coronavirus crisis has hit everyone hard, but for those struggling with alcoholism, this pandemic has brought on unique challenges.  Social distancing means that the lifeblood of the Alcoholics Anonymous program has been fundamentally changed. 

As daily life has changed recently, we’ve all been forced to think about the role of human interactions in our lives. For many recovering alcoholics, the fellowship they find at in-person meetings plays a crucial in their continued sobriety.  

So, what can be done?  Below are 5 benefits of continuing your recovery via AA phone and/or virtual online meetings.

1. AA Phone Meetings Offer Fellowship

We all know there are 12 steps to follow, but for many people, the relationships they create and maintain at AA are the real benefit. Even if you can’t be physically together to give each other a hug or handshake, it’s crucial to maintain your important relationships digitally.

No, it’s not quite as good. But, it is infinitely better than nothing!  

The lack of interaction is often what brings on the desire to relapse. So, don’t underestimate the value of talking to your peers. Just talking to your AA group, even on the phone, can do wonders for your mental health and stamina to fight temptation. 

2. Opens Up New Relationships

The switch to online or phone-based meetings offers a unique chance to meet new people you might never have encountered before. 

Perhaps you’re very content with your current relationships–that’s great! But if you want to branch out, this is the time.

Online resources, such as through AA online intergroupother 12-step online groups, or on our District 22 website for online meeting resources are great places to start.

3. Can Join More Targeted Groups 

Joining an online AA meeting doesn’t just let you meet more people, it can also facilitate joining a more targeted group meeting.  For example, within the AA Online Intergroup there are specific groups for women, men, young people, LGBT people, and many others. 

If your normal, in-person group doesn’t offer this kind of focused attention, going online is a wonderful chance to try it out.  

4. Can Attend More Meetings

Recovery looks a little different for each person, and for some, a daily (or even more!) meeting is what they need.  Luckily, in many areas, this is typically possible. But for those in rural areas or those that are less mobile, getting to multiple in-person meetings is difficult.

The huge rise in demand for remote AA meetings during this pandemic has created the silver lining of virtually unlimited meetings to join at any time of day. 

Take advantage of this and log on as often as you need to.

5. Allows More Anonymity

Finally, if nerves or embarrassment normally prevent you from participating, a phone call to a remote AA group allows great anonymity.  You can be as forthcoming about your personal life or identity as you’re comfortable with. 

Also, with the phone option, as compared with Zoom or other video-conferencing options, there is no visual element.  Your fellow group members will only hear your voice. 

Keep it Up

While circumstances have changed for attending AA meetings, there are actually some benefits to trying out AA phone meetings.  Keep it up, and stay focused on that next coin.

It’s not exactly the same as the in-person experience, but the increased options for remote meetings offer a great way to keep your recovery going strong.

Originally Posted by Token Shop on 5/24/2020

Stage 4 Guidelines June 26

Stage 4 Poster

Elgin Alano Club is following
Phase 4 guidelines as of
Saturday, June 26th, 2020

Dear members and fellows,

We are following the Stage-4 guidelines set forth by the state of Illinois to re-open the club to In-Person meetings on May 30th, 2020 under the following rules:

  • Face Masks are required for entry to the club.
    • If you are not feeling well, please stay home and take care of yourself.
    • Face coverings and social distancing are the norm while inside the club.  You may take off your mask during the meeting if you are practicing safe distancing and remaining in your seat for the entire meeting. 
  • Meeting rooms are limited to 50% capacity, social distancing at 6 feet apart; chairs will be placed on marked spots to insure proper distancing where possible.
    • Meetings with attendance larger then 20-persons will require the meeting chair to split the participants into smaller groups in break-out sessions in our three meeting spaces.
    • Sanitation: The meeting chairperson is responsible to wipe down the chairs, door handles, bathroom faucet handles and toilet flush lever before/after the meeting with the cleaning products supplied by the club. Please initial the cleaning-sheet for tracking.
  • The Coffee Pot and Vending is permitted for use inside the club – please use disposable cups & clean the surfaces appropriately before/after each meeting. 
  • Shareable 12-Step Books will NOT be supplied, you must bring your own or use a smartphone app until further notice.
  • The 7th tradition will be collected in a stationary basket (no passing), hugs and holding hands should be avoided until it can be safely done again.

If possible, we encourage the meeting chairpersons to log on to the zoom account via their smartphone so that those who are not ready to attend in-person meetings at the club, or may be restricted by our attendance limitations, can get in on the meeting. 

The ZOOM account will remain active until no longer necessary –
       Meeting ID: 945 901 0315
       Password: 4-digits (Twelve & Twelve)

For updates visit our website & social media channels.
       Website: www.ElginAlanoClub.org 
       Facebook: @ElginAlanoClub
       Twitter: @ElginAlanoClub 

Re-Opening Guidelines 5/30

EAC ReOpening 20200530
Elgin Alano Club 
Re-Opens with Limitations on Saturday, May 30th, 2020

Dear members and fellows,

We are following the Stage-3 guidelines set forth by the state of Illinois to re-open the club to In-Person meetings on May 30th, 2020 under the following rules:

Face Masks are required for entry to the club.
** If you are not feeling well, please stay home and take care of yourself.

Meeting rooms are limited to 10 people per room, 6 feet apart; chairs will be placed on marked spots to insure proper distancing.
** Meetings with attendance larger then 10-persons will require the meeting chair to split the participants into smaller groups in break-out sessions in our three meeting spaces.
**The meeting chairperson is responsible to wipe down the chairs, door handles, bathroom faucet handles and toilet flush lever before/after the meeting with the cleaning products supplied by the club.

Shareable 12-Step Books will not be supplied, you must bring your own or use a smartphone app until further notice.

The 7th tradition will be collected in a stationary basket (no passing), hugs and holding hands should be avoided until it can be safely done again.

There will be no Coffee, Vending or Food /Potlucks inside the club until we are past “Illinois Stage-3”- please bring your own beverage to a meeting.

If possible, we encourage the meeting chairpersons to log on to the zoom account via their smartphone so that those who are not ready to attend in-person meetings at the club, or may be restricted by our attendance limitations, can get in on the meeting. 

The ZOOM account will remain active until no longer necessary –
       Meeting ID: 945 901 0315
       Password: 4-digits (Twelve & Twelve)

For updates visit our website & social media channels.
       Website: www.ElginAlanoClub.org 
       Facebook: @ElginAlanoClub
       Twitter: @ElginAlanoClub
 ~~ Preview of our “Stage-3 ready” meeting spaces below ~~

Tales of a High-Bottom Alcoholic

By Jackie Monahan 05/17/19 – https://www.thefix.com/tales-high-bottom-alcoholic 

Having a high bottom can be more dangerous because it can go undetected for life. You can end up just living a soulless life. 

Jackie Monahan with friends.
It’s my job every day to remind myself that my life is so much more rewarding now. Cash and prizes are just extras, the real rewards are free and deeply fulfilling.

When I first got sober someone referred to me as having a “high bottom.” A friend, trying to be funny, yelled out, “that’s just because she has long legs!”

I was then told that a high bottom meant I had not caused too much damage to myself or others while I was drinking, but I feel like that’s subjective. A “low bottom” does not really leave much open to interpretation: jail, interventions, hospital, losing your family, your job, your home. You have to decide: get sober or suffer terrible consequences, one of which might be death.

A person experiencing a high bottom may not appear to be suffering outwardly, but inside life can be unbearable, unmanageable, or just not as good as it could be. My periodical heavy drinking was interfering with my quality of life and I had had enough. Surviving isn’t half as fun as thriving, not just financially but emotionally and physically.

When I first got sober I was sort of mad I didn’t have a low bottom; I might have gotten sober sooner and I would know for sure I had a problem. I was also mad that my idea of fun had to change. I wore beer goggles to view my whole life. Anything was tolerable if there was a “reward” later—later that night, later that week, or later that month. If I could look forward to cutting loose at some point, the rest of life seemed more bearable.

I co-wrote and co-starred in a film called The Foxy Merkins. It went to Sundance, sold out premieres, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. I drank on and off when I was writing, filming, and at all the premieres. In every situation, I felt like something was missing and I would drink more to get to the place of feeling complete…but it never came. Drinking had stopped being fun or gratifying because I wasn’t connected to myself. For me, that was a low bottom. I want and need to be fully connected to great moments in my life.

Some of my friends/enablers still try to get me to drink and don’t see what the big deal is, while other friends say “if Jackie can quit drinking, anyone can do it.” It’s not black or white, and that gray area almost kept me drinking for life. I can always point to someone else who has a worse drinking problem. If you have cancer, you’re going to treat it no matter how minor it is. Your mind isn’t trying to tell you to look at how bad the other guy’s cancer is. No one’s saying “your cancer is nothing in comparison. Stop being a baby. You can moderate cancer. Forget about it.” That is what my brain did for years, and what my enablers told me: “That guy is falling down drunk. Have you ever fallen anywhere? NO. Then you are not an alcoholic.”

When I first got sober I thought “why me?” Today I still wonder “why me,” but it’s more “why am I so lucky to get to live in the moment and to feel all of my feelings?” When I finally got to this place, I stopped being mad that I did not have a clear low bottom. It sounds ridiculous to me now but I had been really frustrated about it. I thought: “I am doing this program with all I got, I should be able to half-ass it because I have not caused as much wreckage as most people.” That is an example of my crazy alcoholic diseased thinking.

Now I know everyone has a different bottom. Every day of my life, my head tells me I can drink and I have to remind it I don’t even want to drink. My mind wants to kill me: it only leaves me alive to have a vehicle to run around in. It is my job every day to remind myself that my life is so much more rewarding now. Cash and prizes are just extras, the real rewards are free and deeply fulfilling.

Being honest and useful to the world is priceless. It’s easy to sleep at night when I am not lying to anyone, especially myself. Even if I’d never experienced any external repercussions from lying, it took a toll on me, because I knew. There is nothing like going to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

When I heard that they might be putting high-bottom stories in the Big Book, I experienced a range of emotions. I was happy that other high bottoms will find stories they can relate to in the book. My ego, on the other hand, went nuts: WHAT?!! I would have killed to have heard high-bottom stories when I came in. I might have gotten sober sooner. Or maybe my dad might have been able to get sober. But for today, I am not waiting to blow off steam. I don’t feel that I deserve to drink because I have been wronged. That’s how I used to live. If something went “wrong” I had to have a drink.

I never want to make blanket statements, these are my opinions and they change often. At no time do I want to claim that my opinions are set in stone. As my perception continues to grow, my opinions will change for the better.

“Normal” drinkers are people who never or rarely suffer consequences from drinking. They rarely get drunk, nor do they ask themselves if they have a drinking problem. They never feel they must learn to moderate their use. High-bottom drinkers can hold down a job, they can have relationships, and no one gives them an intervention; but their souls deteriorate over time. They tell themselves they will learn to moderate. High-bottom drinkers are usually surrounded by other functioning alcoholics and enablers—people who do not want the person with alcoholism to get better because that means they will have to look at themselves, and they won’t look better in comparison anymore.

Having a high bottom can be more dangerous because it can go undetected for life. You can end up just living a soulless life. Everything seems fine, but you never feel real gratification or get to know the real you or the greatness you are capable of.

With a low bottom, people are forced to quit drinking: they have to or they will die. High bottoms aren’t necessarily facing death, but they have to quit to really live. At least I did. Things still don’t go perfectly, but how boring would that life be? I now do my best to welcome my life challenges. I now know how to deal with them head-on, and if I don’t I have a crew of new friends that can help me help myself. Now, fun is always being in the present moment, connected to all that is, and not trying to figure out the next drink.

Life is not perfect, but at the same time, it kinda is.

New Year’s Resolutions: Making and Keeping Your Sobriety Goals

For people who are struggling with an addiction, the end of the year is a difficult time. There are potentially more temptations and triggers during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s than any other time of the year. Now that the indulgent holidays are wrapping up, people nationwide can focus on bettering themselves for 2018.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, viewing the new year as a fresh start.

Setting goals for the coming year can provide inspiration and encouragement for lifestyle improvements.

Although millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, more than half (60 percent) fail to actually keep them, according to research out of the University of Scranton. This failure rate may be due to unrealistic expectations, lack of discipline or a loss of motivation, among other things. If rehab is a potential New Year’s resolution for you, don’t let fear of the unknown or a lack of motivation hold you back. Many people make a goal to master ‘something’ in the new year, why not put yourself first and make Sobriety worth mastering!

By overcoming your addiction, you can make 2018 the best year yet. Through sobriety, this year you can:

  • Spend money on your future. That might mean investing in treatment, detox and/or therapy support. It might just mean taking the money that you would have spent on drugs or alcohol and putting it toward a better version of you.
  • Make decisions you are proud of. Promise yourself the mistakes of 2017 will stay in the past. Forgive yourself for mistakes you’ve made and start living a life of integrity and honor. It’s never too late to start making better choices.
  • Face your demons. Whether it’s past trauma, depression, financial struggles or insecurity, everybody has something that plagues them. Instead of self-medicating, let 2018 be the year you get to know yourself well enough to know your demons—and then share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member or therapist.
  • Invest in your relationships. Friends and family can make the transition to sobriety easier by providing care and support. When you are sober, you can give the people in your life the time and attention they deserve. Maintaining relationships can be difficult, but the payoff is well worth it.
  • Find clarity and meaning. Without drugs or alcohol muddying your outlook, you can focus on the things in life that are important to you. Whether it’s taking up a hobby, learning a language or exploring your faith, there are so many things that can give your life fun and meaning. Make it a point this year to live intentionally.

For the best success in making New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to set specific, attainable goals. You can set up a schedule for the things you want to accomplish, and take it pieces at a time. Sobriety, success and happiness aren’t achieved overnight. Allow yourself breathing room, forgiveness and opportunities for change. Take that first step for YOU in 2018, make a call to a professional for help or attend a local 12-step meeting such as AA or NA to learn about living a program of sobriety from others Experience, Strength and Hope.