It is certainly something I have been wondering, how have people been coping whilst we’ve been locked down? I know I personally have had some very “up” and very “down” moments often all in the same day, I’m calling it “The Covid Rollercoaster”. If you are looking for a general supportive, positive and fun community online please join www.facebook.com/groups/MajorcaMallorca where I know we as group have looked after each other very well.
But there are more specific needs that also have to be addressed by experienced people who are dedicated to helping others as well as themselves. A friend of mine who is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Majorca recently sent me the following which is written by one of their members. It shows just how much support, kindness and care there is available for us all if we need it. Thanks must go to the lovely man who wrote this, who wishes to remain anonymous, and congratulations to this marvelous group for being able to take care of each other during these difficult days. If you need their support you only have to send them a message, contact details are below.
Recovering from alcoholism during a pandemic - a personal story
“When I joined AA some six months ago I did not have any expectations whatsoever. I was lost and hopeless, everything seemed impossible and I felt like I was stuck, as if my life was not going anywhere. Those feelings had to make space for a new hope that came into me thanks to the fellowship I experienced in AA. After a few meetings I started learning how the programme worked and I stuck around so at least I could maintain my newly acquired sobriety. My mind started clearing and I began to appreciate my sober life as something precious, which had to be maintained at all costs. What I was not expecting at all was that in the following months a global pandemic would strike the world.
“Imagine the odds. I start getting sober and the world went sideways. For anyone who drinks alcohol it might have seemed the perfect excuse to go and have a drink (or a few), but for a recovering alcoholic that excuse might come as a terrible temptation that would put this stressful situation onto a whole different level of difficulty. Before, I used alcohol to deal with the daily challenges that life threw at me, but now I had to start to use the new methods and help that AA had already offered and suggested.
“In the beginning of my journey, the AA meetings were held in the traditional way, face-to-face. I could still physically go to the meetings, albeit whilst trying to apply social distancing measures and avoiding any physical contact. That went on until the disease I saw in the media arrived at my doorstep. When the State of Alarm was declared, the situation changed radically. AA is a fellowship which traditionally operates through physical meetings, where members share their experiences, openly express their fears and concerns, as well as their strengths and hopes. It was where I started to learn about the twelve-step programme, and a place where more experienced members helped newcomers to understand the nature of their disease. Suddenly all this was shut down, overnight, and members found themselves without any meetings to attend. They had to find a way to communicate with each other in lockdown in order to maintain their sobriety.
“Rapidly, AA in Majorca discovered an innovative solution to this problem, which was already being used extensively elsewhere in the fellowship but it had not acquired such vital importance until now. The virtual meetings started up in Majorca and quickly became the solution. The technology enabled members to recreate the meetings from the safety of their own homes without the risk of contracting or spreading the disease. At first it was a bit confusing for me to communicate through a virtual platform but as people started getting used to it, you could see many positive results. Even though there are members, such as myself, who perhaps might prefer face-to- face meetings, I discovered that many of the people who used to go to the physical meetings rapidly became very active in the online fellowship. It works the same way it does in real life, the only difference being that attendees are not sharing the same physical space. In my case for example, I was able to find a sponsor, someone experienced in the programme to help show me how it works in the same way I would have done in a physical meeting by reaching out and seeking help. This has been provided to me via phone calls, online meetings, emails etc. and has proved very effective.
“There are people of all kinds in our meetings: some with a few days/weeks of sobriety, others who can count years and even decades of sobriety, young and elderly, people from many different countries and walks of life, all together in the virtual room. This variety has allowed the meetings to be rich in content and to have members of the fellowship from all over the world connecting with each other, sharing experiences and ideas. In these very hard months, it has been wonderful to have people from such a variety of backgrounds coming together with the purpose of helping each other to maintain their sobriety and to cope with these challenging times. It is likely that online meetings will continue to flourish even after the lockdown period ends, currently a few small physical meetings with appropriate social distancing are combining with online meetings, so the benefits they have brought will be sustained and give AA an even wider global platform.
“A feeling I have developed from this experience is that even though things might look dark all around and the bottom might look closer than ever, there will always be a safe place in AA to share my thoughts and ask for help, whether it is in a circle of chairs, around a table or sitting in front of my phone/computer.”
AA in the Balearics can be contacted via:
Alcoholics Anonymous Palma International Group
Helpline Phone or WhatsApp +34 634 36 87 71