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Support groups helping people maintain sobriety through Zoom, return to in-person meetings

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Over the last year, the pandemic has forced many of us to find new ways to stay connected.

Gatherings, events and even support groups moved from in-person to virtual meetings.

For some support groups, especially for substance use, they’ve had to find new ways to help people stay connected. For most of the pandemic, people were able to meet outside until the winter temperatures made them shift to fully remote meetings.

“The amazing thing is how many people came into Alcoholics Anonymous meetings during COVID, their only experience is on Zoom,” said Karen who is a member of the Metrolina Intergroup.

Karen has been sober for 11 years.

During the pandemic, she’s seen first-time AA members take the leap of faith and join virtually when restrictions limited their in-person interaction.

In-person meetings shifted to zoom, which Karen says helped with accessibility and connecting with people across the country and globally.

“It’s absolutely vital this is not something that we can do alone. We walk with each other in recovery,” she said.

For people looking to begin their journey to sobriety, she recommends they download the app called Meeting Guide to find a meeting anytime anywhere.

“They can see whether it’s in person, on zoom, indoors or outdoors,” she said.

While restrictions are lifting - Karen says she thinks Zoom and virtual platforms will be here for the long run, helping people from all over, one step at a time.

“Anything that we can do to help people maintain their sobriety will stick around,” she said.

Hope Haven in Charlotte also started group meetings again in person to help people in recovery for substance use disorders. They’re also offering individual counseling and virtual programs.

If you or anyone you know is facing addiction or mental illness, there are resources to help.

The national confidential hotline for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is 1-800-662-4357.

Click here for mental health resources in North Carolina.

Click here for substance use resources and support in North Carolina.

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