In Which Online Meetings Rock My World

By Jess Williams 04/03/20

I attended an online 12-step meeting last Saturday. It was my first. There were about a dozen people in attendance. Many of us cried with relief.

We cried with relief because it worked. We could tell fairly quickly that it worked and that it was going to keep working. 

We are drug people, alcohol people. We know how it feels when something works. And this did. 

It meant we might be okay. 

We cried with relief because we saw each other's beautiful faces. They were lined up across the screen, Brady Bunch-style. The same random array of people you see at face-to-face meetings. The ones you particularly like and the ones you don't. Same potpourri effect that combines to create something terribly good.

A few observations from the meeting, for what they're worth.

People Should Be Muted

The host of the meeting can do this forcibly. They can request that people mute themselves, but in the absence of compliance, they can go ahead and do that themselves. This is a dream come true! If folks aren't muted, background noise is an aggravating distraction.

The Muting Feature is One Way Online Meetings Are Superior

I have a baby who cried intermittently throughout that meeting, but no one was bothered by it. If I'd been in a church basement, I would have had to leave. Instead, I got a meeting and so did everyone else.

Invite People Who Used to Live in Your City But No Longer Do

This is a wonderful benefit. Several people who had moved away from Pittsburgh joined in, and let me tell you, they were responsible for their fair share of the waterworks. Their presence recreated a chemistry that I'd forgotten when they moved. I can't describe how awesome this is. Fire emoji.

Video Makes a Difference

It's those shiny happy (and unhappy) faces, man. Most online platforms allow you to just call in, which is nice for people who feel nervous about computer stuff, but the video makes a difference.

I'm a terrible student of 12-step, so if this has any implications for anonymity or any of the other traditions, I don't have any thoughts on that matter. I'm sure a lot of other people do. All I know is, it was good to be with my people. I'm gonna keep coming back. 


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