Recovery groups find unexpected twist during online meetings

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS – People in recovery are still finding help during this pandemic. If you’re struggling with addiction, now may be the best time to get help.

Three people in long-term recovery gave us a rare look into their world and how they’re continuing to meet while social distancing. They do not want to be anonymous, as they remind people who are struggling that you can still connect.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures and we needed to save our own butts. This is what we’re doing. And it’s working,” said Phil Wahby, MO Network.

Wahby invited us to join in at the end of a 12-step addiction recovery meeting he’d just moderated.

Chris Captain, a Mascoutah firefighter, was there.

“Trying to stay connected with those who are like-minded like myself, and a lot of times they’re helping me more than I’m helping them even though they don’t realize it in that moment,” he said.

Also in attendance – Steve Zichler, a suicide overdose survivor from St. Charles.

“I think we’re just resourceful people, you know? We did whatever we needed to do to stay in our active addiction, you know, and when you take that resourcefulness and turn it into doing good, it’s amazing what you can accomplish,” he said.

They’re still meeting online through programs like Zoom. They’re concerned people who may just be starting to struggle won’t be able to find them.

“They might show up at a church thinking a meeting’s going on and they pull that door and it’s locked and say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t get help,’” Wahby said.

Captain said some have resisted meeting online.

“They didn’t think this was for them, the online meeting,” he said. “I told them it’s not my first choice either but it’s the right thing to do for the right reasons.”

Wahby does not believe the video conferencing platform will replace face-to-face meetings.

“Never. I just think for the time being, this is what we have to do,” he said. “You don’t even have to leave your couch to get these. I’ve been in meetings where there are 100 participants.”

Wahby said he’s logged into meetings around the world.

“What’s cool about going to a Zoom meeting in Ireland is you’re thousands of miles away but they recover the same way we do over here,” he said. “And it’s through fellowship, and through unity, and through service.”

Here are links to assist anyone in finding online meetings:

AASTL.org
HeroinAnonymous
NA.org
RecoveryDharma
SmartRecoveryTest.org
GamblersAnonymous

Also, an app called Meeting Guide is available in the Apple and Google stores. That app provides Zoom codes to AA meetings around the world.

This page links to the current online HA meetings being reported to HA World Services. It is updated every day or two: http://heroinanonymous.org/covid-19/

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