Virtual 12-Step Meetings

by Apr 3, 2020SUD Resources0 comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has ended in-person 12-step meetings for the time being. In response, many 12-step meeting groups have moved to virtual formats. This has happened very quickly over the past t two weeks and the practice of online meetings is still evolving but there are already many resources available to find these virtual communities or to begin one of your own.

How to Find Online Meetings

For Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, regional intergroup websites have added listings of virtual meetings. Some virtual meetings are started by groups that already existed, so you may find online some of the same groups you already attended! Here is the list of the San Diego Area Intergroup websites:

Alcoholics Anonymous – East County Intergroup

Alcoholics Anonymous – North County San Diego

Alcoholics Anonymous – San Diego County

How to Use Zoom*

You will likely find that most virtual 12-step meetings are hosted on Zoom, an app that describes itself as a leader in “video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.” Zoom is free to use as a guest in a meeting. To do so, you simply need to download the app.

Download ZoomZoom Download

You can also join a recovery meeting from your browser by visiting this link – Join a Zoom Meeting and typing in the meeting ID, which can be found on most of the websites listed above. You do NOT need to create a paid account to attend a meeting as a guest or attendee. If you want to host your own meeting(s) or other multi-person video calls, you can use the free version of Zoom, which offers limited meeting lengths (up to 40 minutes) and participants (up to 100); or you can purchase an account on Zoom and get access to enhanced call hosting features including meeting and participant limits. (See Zoom Pricing).

Get Started with Zoom – Zoom Support and Help Docs

How to Start Your Own Online Meeting

You may also decide to start your own virtual meetings with your sponsor or a group of friends. There are many resources available on the Alcoholics Anonymous’ website:

Alcoholics Anonymous, GSO – Options for Meeting Online

Technology in Alcoholics Anonymous Online Forum

There are a few things you will want to consider when starting an online meeting:

  • How will you handle group supplies? Do you have a meeting format? What about literature? Will you all use what you have?
  • How will you handle group expenses (7th tradition)? What will the expenses be (Zoom account cost, etc.)? Will you use digital money transaction apps such as Venmo, Zell, etc. for group expenses?
  • How will you protect the anonymity of group members? (I.e. Will you keep the meeting ID public or private? Is this an open or closed meeting?)
  • Who will host your meeting? (Some groups have created an IT chair to handle the technical responsibilities associated with conducting online meetings).

There are plenty of existing Zoom meetings, so there is no pressure to begin your own. There are also numerous online resources that will promote your sobriety and well-being. If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse disorder and having trouble finding meetings, please don’t hesitate to contact Heartland House and we will direct you to resources that can provide you with help.

*This post is meant to be informational in nature only. Please check Zoom and any other virtual platform’s websites for their specific Privacy Policies, Terms & Conditions, etc.

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