No need for a membership card to enter AA; the will to stop drinking is the only condition. Now also offered in virtual mode, meetings become even more accessible and open, reducing the barrier of the difficult first step.
Read also: Testimony: “I just want to be free, happy and joyful. “
On average, 2000 participants per week connect to one or other of the virtual meetings Focus on our recovery; an initiative of group 87 of AA, sector including Montreal and covering from Sorel to the border of Ontario, while passing by Granby. On the Web, participants come from all over Quebec.
Faced with the abrupt interruption of the meetings in March, Rénald and Éric, two residents of Longueuil who are members of the group, wanted to quickly offer another option. And the craze for online meetings quickly kicked in.
“Alcoholism is a disease. You are unable to overcome an obsession. When obsession takes hold of you, you lose your means. So if there are no more meetings, especially at the beginning of your process, when you are fragile… ”, suggests Rénald.
In the eyes of Eric, responsible for the technical aspect of the meetings, there is no doubt that the confinement was particularly hard for alcoholics. “It is enormous the number of relapses that we have seen, he noted. It was a very crucial period. ”
Renald second. “The context of isolation generated stress. People drink, it relaxes them, but it quickly becomes an obsession, the center of our life, ”he says.
He takes the time to explain.
“Our goal is to become happy again. We have a hard time living stuck somewhere. The pandemic was a catalyst, especially for people who were at a more fragile time. ”
– Rénald, member of AA
He invites all those who find themselves “in a dead end” to discover Alcoholics Anonymous.
Love crosses the screen
The dynamics of a discussion on Zoom are necessarily different from face-to-face meetings – which moreover always take place, in compliance with health measures.
Participants nonetheless rediscover what they came for: human contact. During the meetings, a speaker gives a testimony, which is followed by a discussion. A moment when the speaker receives a “nice dose of love”.
“We are a movement of speech, and that has a good effect,” says Rénald. Love passes through the screen very well. ”
The first step is also easier to take in virtual mode. Due to sanitary measures, participants who join face-to-face meetings are required to register their names. This simple measure is for some a brake.
“At your first meeting, you are embarrassed to go through the door frame. We each have our own idea of what an alcoholic is, and it’s not very glamorous. Young people who are struggling with this disease may have their first contact with AA and will find a group that does not judge them. ”
“We are a fraternity,” he adds. Brothers and sisters who, regardless of their age, sex, orientation, have a common bond. And that’s why we feel equal. ”
The meetings are open to all. Virtual meetings take place every day, at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. It is also possible to attend via a telephone line. Rens. : www.AA87.org.