Press Release – Apr 2020
Supporting the groups in moving their meetings online is one of the ways Alcoholics Anonymous NZ is supporting its members during the COVID-19 lockdown.
This has meant AA’s 6,000 or so members around New Zealand have been able to continue to attend their local meetings via Zoom rather than in person as usual, in line with New Zealand’s current social distancing guidelines.
Martin Giles, a non-alcoholic Class A board member on the A.A. GB General Service Board says since the lockdown there have been around 220 online meetings running each week across New Zealand, replacing the usual 500 in-person meetings.
He says feedback indicates that more people are coming along to the Zoom meeting or are attending more meetings than usual. In some cases, people are joining international online A.A. meetings and some local groups are reporting international members attending their meetings too.
“Going online has not only given established members access to more A.A. meetings but offered an opportunity for anyone concerned about their drinking to find out more about Alcoholics Anonymous and what it offers. Members have adapted really quickly to this new format and seem to be embracing it”.
“We’re pleased about being able to go online at this time because it means members can still share their experience, strength and hope with each other, which is the whole point of the meetings”.
“In these uncertain times it’s even more important that they can use the 12 Steps and the tools of recovery, including support from each other, to help get them through. Being able to continue attending meetings is a big part of that.”
A.A.’s new website was launched in December last year, and Mr. Giles says this was invaluable to being able to share important COVID-19 information with members, and connecting them to the online meetings, including help and guidelines.
“Since the lockdown on 26 March, we’ve seen the daily visits to the website more than double,” says Mr Giles.
“Most visits have been to get online meeting information and Zoom guides, but we’ve also seen a substantial increase in people seeking newcomer information since the lockdown has been in place.”
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