The coronavirus has brought an abrupt end to recovery meetings. This is a travesty, but you can survive, and you can stay sober.

First, I want to empathize with those of you who are newly sober. You finally get up the courage to get help for your addiction, and one by one, the meetings shut down. Then maybe you were meeting outside, and now the property is closed. You finally felt a sense of belonging, some hope, and now you might feel betrayed and hopeless. This can feel overwhelming.

Please understand that the decisions to close down meetings are not reflective of most members. State governors have closed businesses that aren’t “essential.” Then a few board members of these clubhouses voted the shutdown.

Essential? I wonder how many addicts will die in the next 30 days because they had nowhere to go. Even treatment centers have closed their doors. How confusing. We’ve been told the prognosis for addiction is death or insanity. Hospitals can’t close their doors to people with coronavirus or those in need, but it’s ok for treatment facilities to close their doors to people who might die without help?

It’s incomprehensible that a deadly disease that you might get is more important than a deadly disease (addiction) that you already have.

Is this the only way to handle this situation? I think not.

I want you to know that these decisions are based on fear rather than on creative solutions that come through prayer and group consciousness.

If you’ve gone to a meeting only to find a chain draped across the entrance, please do not despair. The chain represents the choice for fear over love. Fear of spreading a virus — even outdoors with plenty of fresh air and social distance. Fear of getting sued. Fear of making a mistake.

Don’t despair. You can stay sober no matter what. In the beginning, recovery meetings started with two people. They did not have meetings or clubhouses. Recovery groups are like ant colonies — always rebuilding.

1. Don’t relapse, no matter what. The same voice that tells you to “go ahead” is the same voice that will beat you up.

2. When you think of relapsing, do something else. Each good thought brings the right action.

3. Find a higher power — something that has always inspired you — connect with IT now. People might let you down; a higher power won’t.

4. First thing in the morning, pray for help staying sober before going to sleep, thank your higher power — there’s always something good in your life.

5. Immerse yourself. Read any literature you can get your hands on. If you’ve been to any meetings at all, you have phone numbers. Make the calls. There are meetings online — find one you like.

6. Try to help someone else, even if you don’t think you have anything to offer. If you know a safe location, start your own meeting, and be compliant with the guidelines. Stay connected, no matter what.

You can do this. You are worth it. If you’re ready, nothing can stop you. Most of us remember those first few months, and we know what you’re going through. You are not alone.

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