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Alcoholics Anonymous navigates social distancing guidelines

The chair of the Emerald Valley Intergroup, a group that supports AA activities in our area, said meetings at jails and hospitals have been put on hold.

Posted: Apr 6, 2020 6:55 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- With restrictions around social gatherings, Alcoholics Anonymous has switched to holding many of their meetings online.

The chair of the Emerald Valley Intergroup, a group that supports AA activities in our area, said meetings at jails and hospitals have been put on hold. The chair, who didn't want to be identified, said many meetings are now held through the video conferencing website Zoom.

"It was a little bit cumbersome at first to get used to it, but we fall into the groove, we're a very respectful bunch," she said.

One volunteer who also didn't want to be identified said there are still some in-person meetings happening because not everyone has access to the internet. He said people at those meetings are practicing social distancing.

"They have hand sanitizer. Most AA meetings have a coffee service, and I think that's been pretty much shut down now," the man said.

U.S. sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in the week ending March 21, according to market research firm Nielsen. Spirits like tequila, gin and pre-mixed cocktails led the way, with sales jumping 75% compared to the same period last year. Wine sales were up 66% while beer sales rose 42%.

The Emerald Valley Intergroup provides information on all meetings that are taking place on their website. They also have a book store and a support phone line that takes calls 24 hours a days, seven days a week. Leaders at the group said they plan to keep their office open to help others stay sober.

"I can't change anything about what's going on in the world, but I can be available for people who reach out for help," the man said.

The number for the support line is 541-342-4112. Narcotics Anonymous is also holding meetings online.

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