Online Resources for Sober Holiday Survival
If you need some seasonal sober support, there's plenty out there; here are some of the best options.
Your family sucks. Well, maybe not. But many of our circumstances can make staying sober during the holidays hard. If you’re stuck somewhere without meetings, or a car to get to them, fear not: plenty of online resources can help you stay sober even while your family pushes your buttons. (Hint: they installed them.)
- Chat Meetings Like the AOL chat rooms from back in the day, but less creepy. Here is a comprehensive list of online meetings. InTheRooms.com is hosting around-the-clock holiday marathon meetings. And this website hosts three or four daily: you join the room and use "!" to enter the queue to share and "?" to ask a question. Being notified of people entering and exiting during your share can be stressful... The solution? Give a better share! (Just kidding. Feelings aren’t facts.) Alkies.org is a great resource, as is XAT.
- Video Chats If you don’t mind Skyping with strangers, these can give you a warm sense of community. Cathleen, a 35-year-old touring musician based in Brooklyn, tells us that she recommends Recovery Chat: “On the road I like the meetings on this site because there's the option to use your webcam and it's nice to see other people.” The site has video and non-video chats and is available 24/7. This European AA site also holds daily Skype meetings.
- Phone Meetings If you want to hear real live voices in a more traditional way, try this. You call in, mute your phone and then un-mute it when it’s your turn to speak. The AA Telephone Meetings group hosts one meeting every weeknight and two on weekends.
- Spiritual Emails Small daily doses of spirituality may help keep you going. Among the best emails are Hazelden’s Today’s Gift—touching on things like generosity, relationships and keeping your side of the street clean. Email meetings and gratitude lists are also available. If you’re a Spanish speaker, here’s an email group in Spanish. And if you’re a woman, you might find GROW useful.
- Speaker Tapes Download these guys to listen to while the rest of your family is drinking beer and watching football. This site has expanded its catalogue to include speaker tapes that span all of the As: AA, Al-Anon, CA, CDA, DA, DAA, GA, GSA, MA, NA, OA, SA and SAA. If you’re in AA, Joe and Charlie come recommended.
- Facebook Why not organize a Facebook group for some of your favorite people from your home meeting? Make it private and post silly pictures of yourselves from your drunken days so you don’t feel so alone. It helps.
As always, call another alcoholic or addict if you feel like you’re going to drink or use. To find a list of actual physical meetings in your area, check out Intergroup. And finally, don't forget the old-fashioned option of reading a book: early AA-ers wrote the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous precisely to reach people who couldn't reach meetings. So pack some dead-tree recovery literature—from the jaunty Living Sober to the bite-sized and wise Daily Reflections. You won't even need to plug it in.