There are a whole lot of meetings, gatherings and get-togethers that have been put on ice due to the coronavirus pandemic and that holds true for local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, places where constant peer support is absolutely critical.

When local and state governments put out social distancing orders in late March, that meant that these support groups couldn’t continue to meet in the traditional way. However, that didn’t stop the organization from continuing its battle against alcoholism.

The AA groups that are famous for mutual member encouragement are especially needed in these trying times when people are stuck at home all day and night, the stock market is on a roller coaster ride, many are losing their jobs and the threat of sickness or death is widely publicized all the time.

One AA member who not surprisingly asked to remain anonymous said that everyone – alcoholics and non-alcoholics alike – is feeling a lot of stress right now and added that AA support groups, like so many other activities these days, have shifted to the web.

“We’ve moved to Zoom and that works well,” she said of the popular conferencing software.

She added that the virtual meetings still allow group members to offer encouragement to one another and share stories – all while staying safe from the virus.

Last week, the local AA intergroup office put out the word to members that, given the March orders from the City of Greensboro and Guilford County, AA groups, if they continue to meet physically, must abide by certain requirements in order to be in compliance with the law. Any actual meetings must be limited to nine or fewer participants. Those members have to be seated and remain at least six feet from one another and the meeting area must be sanitized both before and after the meeting.

According to the information from AA, the criteria were based on a phone conversation organization representatives had with the local shelter-in-place hotline and those criteria are subject to change as the coronavirus situation develops.

Given these restraints, some local groups have simply closed temporarily but most area groups remain active and are choosing the online option.