COVID-19 has caused some sobriety meetings to move from in-person to online

Some believe the transition can trigger deadly relapses
Posted at 9:36 AM, Apr 28, 2020

Genevieve Myers is mourning the loss of her brother, 43-year-old Shon Myers, who she says recently died from an accidental overdose.

“I don’t know what to feel a lot of the time,” she said. “I’m still in disbelief.”

Genevieve says Shon battled addiction for years. To help cope with his cravings, he would go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings almost daily.

When COVID-19 concerns caused those meetings to move from in-person to online, however, Genevieve says it stripped Shon of the community that helped him stay sober.

“When this pandemic hit, it really took that away from him and took that support and that consistency away from him,” she said.

Known for its 12-step program, AA has been around for decades and has chapters across the world. Leaders say the group has strength in numbers.

“I’m really worried about the people who are isolated,” Peter Luongo, Ph.D., a non-alcoholic trustee with AA.

He says stay-at-home orders and social distancing has caused different communities to implement different rules and regulations for aa meetings.

Luongo added though virtual meetings are available at all times, there’s still a need for human interaction.

“This (pandemic) is a stressor that leads to people reaching out usually for help with aa but it’s more difficult now,” he said. “Alcoholics Anonymous realizes isolation is one of the most-deadly aspects of living for people who have alcoholism.”

As for Genevieve, she’s now working to make more in-person meetings more available.

“I think there needs to a little bit more attention on how to really figure that out because if there’s a will there’s a way. Always,” she said.

And a will to save others’ lives.

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