Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is an international fellowship group of both current and recovered alcoholics who provide mutual support to each other in order to achieve and maintain sobriety. Founded in 1935, the group follows a set of principles known as the Twelve Steps, which have a distinct spiritual essence but are relatively nondenominational, and the Twelve Traditions, which outline both the internal functions of AA groups and how they should interact with society as a whole. Members of AA are encouraged to acknowledge that they are powerless over alcohol and to seek help from a “higher power” of their own understanding.
Their meetings used to take place discreetly in the basements of churches, a spare room at the Y.M.C.A., the back of a cafe. But when the pandemic hit last spring, members of Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups of recovering substance abusers found those doors quickly shut.
December 5, 2020 marks my eighth year of sobriety and I thought that, by this time, strong urges to drink would be in my past. And, by and large, they have been. As the years went on, I found myself thinking about it less and less. Then the pandemic came along.