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Sobriety in the Time of Covid

27 May 2021

Confession: I haven’t been to more than two or three AA meetings over the past year. I hate Zoom meetings. I went to several in the early pandemic, and I gave up. I didn’t connect. Frankly, I haven’t connected to the AA community here well since moving to Seattle. I attended a fairly large number of meetings in 2018 and 2019, but when the pandemic hit I let them drop off and I haven’t missed them. Neither have I felt any rise in my urge to drink. But I’m aware it’s a dangerous game.

I don’t make friends too easily. Not real ones – acquaintances, even close ones, at work or other such environments pass quickly when the opportunity to interact frequently dissipates. I have only a few friends left from my time in Philadelphia, perhaps only one from AA, two or three from work. There are others I continue to interact with professionally from time to time, but they’re not friends.

Here in Seattle, I made no friends in AA in the two years I was regularly attending meetings. I am feeling out of place and uninteresting. I’ve been asked to speak a few times, and I have. It didn’t lead to actually meeting people and connecting. A few men I thought would make connections clearly don’t have time or interest. Seattle is known for being a place hard to make friends – they call it the “Seattle Chill”, and it’s very real.

So my sobriety has been being maintained by a few things – my few close friends who are sober and interested in staying connected, with whom I speak regularly. And by the fact that I find the prospect of alcohol utterly and totally uncompelling. I have no desire to drink, no interest in inebriation, and cannot fathom developing one again. My partner keeps beer and wine in the fridge and I don’t even notice it, except on the rare occasion when I check if there’s a tablespoon of white wine to cook into a risotto (and I’m careful to cook off all the alcohol).

And so my sobriety is clicking along. I don’t think about it much, because I don’t have to. I’ve been sober more than thirteen years now. My life is inestimably better. I’ve got no desire to go back. But I also wouldn’t recommend these actions to anyone in the program. Like a frog being boiled, it’s hard to know when the danger is approaching. And I’ll go back to meetings once they return to in-person status, whether I feel comfortable or not.

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