AA meetings still going strong during COVID-19 pandemic

Courtesy of ABC 6
By Jackie Orozco
August 6th 2020

Staying busy and socializing is important for those in sobriety. However, the pandemic is making it a bit challenging since we have to “social-distance” to keep safe. But there are ways to still connect face-to-face, in a safe way.

For Jeff Anastasia, he’s struggled with drugs and alcohol for years.

“I was homeless 5 years ago. My wife was homeless. We just had a trash bag full of clothes,” said Anastasia, who is currently sober.

He says he was at his wits end: in-and-out of jail and loved ones giving up on him.

“I got 56 misdemeanors, 7 DUI’s, 6 felonies, and 16 driver’s suspensions. That’s all I used to know, that jail was an institution,” Anastasia stated.

Then he hit rock bottom.

“My mom died in 2011. She overdosed on Xanax and oxycodone, so I was just tired of my life. I just wanted to die,” he said.

Until a friend got him some help. He spent months at several treatment centers like Maryhaven, House of Hope, and a sober house.

“I took about 14 months just to work on myself,” Anastasia stated.

He started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly and now helps recruit more members.

“The biggest part of my sobriety is staying busy and helping others.”

Making ever-lasting friendships during these meetings. But with COVID-19, meetings are now small or moved online, like Facebook.

“We’re having meetings, but we’re also putting them on live on Facebook at the same time. So if you don’t feel comfortable going to the meetings, you can just sit there and watch it live on Facebook,” said Anastasia.

He said going to church helps his sobriety as well. Even as people social distance, wear masks, you can still get that in-person connection.

Anastasia said the first step and the hardest step is just asking for help.

“That’s what the meetings are for: fellowship, it’s for all of us to come together, hang out, talk, but obviously with this situation going on and you can’t find a meeting or a meeting is full then pick up the phone, reach out, somebody will come and pick you up,” he said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and would like to seek treatment, you can call Maryhaven at (614) 445-8131.

For those looking to connect with others who are in recovery, Maryhaven suggests you send them a message on its Facebook page.

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