There is a lot of concern about how we can carry the message, and that newcomers will not want to attend phone or online meetings. Here are some suggestions:
- During this unprecedented time, GOING TO ANY LENGTHS TO STAY SOBER means attending online and phone meetings even if we all would prefer to meet in-person. It’s true that many of us still managed to get to the bars in the midst of a snowstorm. However, this time is different. If you know a newcomer– or any alcoholic in the fellowship who is struggling right now– connect with them by phone or text and agree to meet them at a virtual meeting. They will feel less alone if you are there, too.
- Secretaries might consider asking at the beginning of each meeting if any newcomers are present and/or leave time for newcomers to speak in the last 5 minutes of a meeting. If there’s anyone who needs extra support, maybe they can be encouraged to speak up during the meetings.
- One group posted a sign on their meeting with the hotline number listed. This is a great idea:
- Another group is having one or two homegroup members stand at the doors of their closed meeting to talk with any newcomers that show up.
- How about having a “parking lot meeting?” One group is setting up phone calls a half hour before their online meeting where members can hang out and catch up with each other outside to the structure of a meeting. It’s not a meeting, but a *place* where people can connect with other alcoholics in an informal but important way.
- The office is getting calls from people who need to talk and connect in order to stay sober. We are putting them in touch with people on our 12th Step list so we can keep the phone lines open for other calls. That means 12th Step calls will be increasing, so please check your messages regularly and call us back. And don’t hesitate to call for help.
- A great way to be of service during this time is to help the elders in our community who may not be very tech savvy and may be intimidated by this transition to online meetings. Have one-on-one chats with them through Zoom and show them how it works. This will help them feel confident with the tools and ensure they are not isolated in their inability to physically get to a meeting.
- Things are still evolving. If you have other ideas about how to reach out to newcomers, please let us know!