The COVID-19 outbreak has led society into unchartered territory. “Social distancing” is slowly becoming our new -- hopefully temporary -- normal, and for most, it hasn’t come easy. For those in recovery and struggling with addiction, however, adjusting to this new normal can be an even bigger struggle.
An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder, according to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 74% of those adults struggle with alcohol use. Staying sober is a daily challenge, even under normal circumstances.
The newest guidelines issued by our local government have closed non-essential businesses until at least April 7th, and are urging people to self-isolate in their homes whenever possible. For many, recovery is a social endeavor, and isolation makes coping more difficult. Social distancing means that in-person gatherings which are crucial to this population, like AA meetings, are put on hold.
Unfortunately, the risk of relapse can grow with social isolation. But there are many alternatives to in-person meetings available to help maintain involvement in mutual help groups during this time. This list contains some available options, including virtual meetings, online support forums, phone meetings, and more.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
An extensive directory of online meetings, chat rooms, email groups, and forums across a variety of group types. Platforms used vary from Google Groups, Yahoo Groups, Discord, Second Life, Zoom and others. http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php
Multiple online meetings daily for AA, NA, and others. Does require a login, though creation of an account is free.
12 Step Online:
A group discussion with various online meetings throughout the day. The chat room remains open for discussion at all times. Uses Google Groups. https://www.12step-online.com/meetings/online-aa-meetings/
12 Step Forums:
Scheduled online Al-Anon meetings, along with general chat rooms for Al-Anon, AA, NA, and others.
AA Central Service of Eastern Massachusetts:
Operator may be able to connect individuals to local Zoom meetings. Please call 617-426-9444 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and ask for information on available online meetings.
Telephonic AA Meetings:
One Day at a Time: Meets by telephone daily at 1:00pm. Join the meeting.
(712) 775-7031 (Access Code: 198520#)
Pause a While: Meets by telephone daily at 2:00pm.
(425) 436-6360 (Access Code: 422932#)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA):
Multiple languages and platforms, as well as phone meetings. View virtual meetings.
Telephonic NA Meetings:
NA by Phone Meeting Schedule
Multiple scheduled online meetings daily.
For friends and family members of those struggling with addiction. Al-Anon has virtual meetings over several platforms including Zoom, Skype, and email in multiple languages.
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) has multiple online meetings daily; most do not require verification. Formats vary. Also has access for friends and family member meetings. View the calendar.
Online forum, open 24/7. Read or join a forum.
Women for Sobriety:
Online support forum with both an open forum and 1-2 meetings over text chat daily. There is also an available phone support volunteer line. For information on the phone support volunteers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-536-8026.
Recovery Dharma Online:
Peer-led organization that uses Buddhist practices as tools for recovery. Daily meetings accessible via computer, smartphone, or dial-in. Learn more.
Buddhist-inspired, meditation-based pathway to recovery from addiction with scheduled online meetings daily. View meetings.
If you are co-quarantined with an abuser or worried about having to self-isolate from COVID-19 in a dangerous home situation, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Offers a phone number (1-800-799-7233) and texting options for victims and survivors. Visit their website >
Stress and anxiety
Samaritans offers 24/7 crisis services and grief support. Call them at 877-870-HOPE (4673) or text at 877-870-4673
National Suicide Prevention Hotline offers 24/7 services for anyone feeling distressed. Call them at 1-800-273-8255. A chat is also available on their website.
For Support Using Different Platforms: