Friday, April 3, 2020

Can’t get to AA? Read this now and every day as necessary

     Hello, my name is Neil and I’m an alcoholic.
     Hello, Neil!
     Welcome to the Friday Morning Inky Newshound Fellowship Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, where we gather to (reading from a card) “share our experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.”
     I’m glad to be here — I’m glad to be anywhere — and glad that you’re here, especially the newcomers. As you know, the COVID-19 virus has caused the cancellation of thousands of AA meetings usually held in church basements and conference rooms. And since attending an online meeting is, for some, well, weird, I thought I would convene one here.
     General chair scraping, coffee sipping. Somebody rushes in. “Sorry I’m late,” he says, stating the obvious. There’s a lot of that in AA, stating of the obvious. But since ignoring the obvious, for years, is how a person gets here, that’s actually useful.
     No worries. There’s a chair at the back. The good thing about a meeting like this — sprung by surprise — is that it’s hard to avoid. None of that “I don’t have time” or “I’m stuck inside” or “Every aspect of life is convulsed by a global plague” to keep you from attending.
     Amidst the havoc, this pandemic is serving up the two things most dangerous to an alcoholic: isolation and an excuse. Oh, and lack of employment. So, three things most dangerous ...

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  1. I just finished this in the print edition (yes, some people still like to hold the paper in their hands), and it hit home.
    The pandemic is hitting just about everybody in different ways, and some of us are so consumed by our own individual situations that we don't even think of all the different ways other people are impacted.
    And, on top of that liquor stores are considered essential businesses. At first I wondered why that would be, but then it became obvious. If all the heavy drinkers went off the alcohol at the same time, the hospitals would be swamped with detoxing patients, many of whom would possibly end up in the death toll.
    So one more temptation for the AA member.
    Thank you again for being there for a lot of people.

  2. Responsible, independent journalism is all that holds a democracy together. Supporting journalism is something we all should do.
    When my son moved to Chicago I wanted to learn more about his new home. It didn’t take long to discover Neil’s column and then subscribe to the Sun-Times. It does a super job of keeping me abreast of what’s going on around my son and reading Neil’s column is food for the soul.

  3. One small step towards a world without hugs, handshakes, pats on the back, kisses on the cheek, a world of don't-touch-me, a world of fear and phobia, a sterile unfulfilling world, in which boy and girl meet on line, date virtually, make love on the phone, and never get sick and never get well.


  4. Thanks for your latest unique perspective on our shared sorrows. Just one more thing I'd never have thought of, were it not for your blog.

  5. John, Even if they were closed, they'd go buy liquor from a grocery store.

  6. According to market research firm Nielsen, alcoholic beverage sales are up 55% as of the week of March 15-22 across the country. Spirit sales are up, too, and have soared to 75%, while beer has seen a 66% jump and wine has spiked to 42% when compared to this time last year — you know, when we weren't in the living hell of a parallel-universe America.

    And don't forget the nationwide surge in the sale of guns and ammo. All that drinking, and all those firearms, will mean a parallel pandemic of lead poisoning. Guns, booze, and violent death are as American as cherry pie. Gonna be a long, hot, deadly summer.

  7. I love that you forgot about the JD and enjoyed being present for the trip, now that's success.


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