Lifeline of recovery

 

As an AA member, a trusted servant and a sponsor, participation in CER online meetings has been immensely helpful during my recovery and has changed my life for the better.

My desire to join and serve in online meetings began when I was working on a project in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia in 2008, early in my sobriety.

I needed a meeting and could not find one anywhere safely reachable that was in English.

A short time later, I was working in the remote mountains of southern Germany and again needed a meeting. There were none. I opened my laptop and saw several friends on Skype, none of them in AA. A fleeting thought crossed my mind: Wouldn’t it be great if we could have meetings online?

When I returned home, I learned that someone named Dallas was moving and a new technical host was needed for the First164 Young People’s meeting on Skype.

I volunteered to help out on Monday nights at 20:00 CET, in order to keep the meeting open and provide a means to carry the message to people living and working remotely. People far from face-to-face English speaking meetings, ourselves included.

This first online meeting in Europe turned out to be a fantastic way to 1) carry the message 2) get to meetings when I was home-bound (with two small children) or traveling and 3) to do service in AA. I could do this all from the comfort of my home, which was the only way I could back then. These meetings played a significant role in my sobriety then, and they still do today.

During this time, I had a dream that we could have online meetings every night of the week. One by one, other members of the group opened additional meetings within this group, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and on Friday nights. We opened a 12×12 meeting, which I tech hosted with another member until I rotated out.

Other online groups began, such as the AA Women’s Meeting and later, the Saturday Reflections meeting. I started the AA Gratitude Group, which we were able to keep open on Saturday nights for five years, until we closed it, due to lack of technical hosts.

The First164yp is still going strong today, with the support of a very active group of dedicated AA trusted servants and members, hosting meetings five nights a week at 8:00 PM CET. I was able to attend a meeting in this group last week while traveling and as there were already 25 people in the meeting (a Skype attendee upper limit) a second meeting was opened by a second technical host. Here I heard the language of the heart and was able to share my experience, strength and hope with a newcomer. Again, this group saved a few more lives, connecting people from Dubai, Germany, the UK and Italy.

When we first began opening these doors, we had a member join us one night from Bosnia. He was moved to tears at having found us, as this was his first English speaking meeting in three years. At that time there were no English speaking meetings there.

Members of our online groups have now formed an online intergroup which is within the Continental European Region service structure. I expect we will be hearing more about the growing attendance, great participation and carrying of strong recovery messages to members throughout the entire region and beyond, in upcoming CER assemblies.

For volunteering to serve as a tech host or a meeting chair, or anytime you want to go to a meeting but cannot make it to your nearest face to face meeting, joining instructions and meeting schedules are found on the CER website at:

AA Online Meetings

Thanks to every exemplary AA member who has worked tirelessly, serving our region by building this recovery circle for all of us to join. Thanks also for the fantastic example of service, recovery and unity. These friends have taught me so much about “attraction rather than promotion”, and “keeping it simple”. Together, one day at a time. I have learned more than just how to stay sober. In these meetings, I have learned about the miracle of service, unity and recovery.

Thanks to all who currently serve in any online AA meeting position, for helping to carry this strong message of recovery to alcoholics everywhere.

Sybil K., RNIG PI Chair