Sober No Matter What
We checked in with these three clean and sober individuals with different lengths of recovery time to see how they continue to maintain their sobriety as the pandemic continues to shut down in-person recovery meetings and fellowship.
BY PAULO MURILLO
Some people might think that it’s made things more difficult. Not for me, surprisingly. I often think about how I would be reacting to this if I were still an active alcoholic. I’d most definitely be drinking all day, every day, dismissing any semblance of daily structure. The days would blend into a grey, joyless, hopeless void with no end in sight. Thank God I have a program of recovery. Luckily, I have been blessed to still have my steady job. Zoom AA meetings have been a godsend. I even gained two sponsees since this pandemic began. I’m also blessed to have an amazing boyfriend, who is also sober, by my side for most of it. We’ve watched a lot of TV and we’ve been taking walks and doing home workouts. As crappy as COVID-land can be, it’s forced me to get creative with maintaining my sanity and to test my ability to be the best Kyle I can be. And I have a feeling that, once all this is over, I’ll emerge from this a better person because I won’t be so quick to take the relationships I’ve gained in recovery for granted. And that, in a weird way, is a miracle.
—Kyle Holtgren, sober since August 3, 2015.
BEING OF SERVICE
I stay busy. I go to a Zoom meeting everyday. I check up on my friends and people in my support group. I send a gratitude list. I make phone calls every day to people in my group who are older and alone. I call them to make sure they know that someone is thinking of them. If I can pick up groceries for them I do that. I volunteer at a food bank. I volunteer at salvation Army. We serve over 200 people in two hours. And I cook dinner at home. I stay busy. I focus on others and not myself. It didn’t work out when I made it all about myself. I discovered that I felt better when I’m of service. It sounds like a cliché, but for me it’s true. Being of service to others is a good reason to stay sober. I wish I knew this before. I would have found happiness sooner. I’m enjoying my sobriety despite the pandemic.
—JL, sober since July 13, 2018.
I honestly love that it’s plugged me in to so many different fellowships. I’ve been to a meeting in Berlin and there is no way, I would have been able to do that before this. I’ve leaned into it. It’s helped me appreciate how wide and vast the fellowship is. I’m moving to San Jose for a job and I was able to plug in to the fellowship where I am moving so easily. I’ve been able to form a foundation to a place I didn’t know anybody. I’m not huge on fellowship after a meeting, so I don’t miss that. I understand people miss it. In terms of the message at ZOOM meetings, they are just as strong as in-person meetings. My life is getting bid. Everything is fast, but what we learn in recovery is we just take the next indicated step.
—Alfonso Ayala III, sober since November 21, 2018.
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