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The Newcomer by Ashley N.

The Newcomer by Ashley N.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the newcomer. Afterall, they are the most important person at any meeting. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus brings with it challenges for the newcomer, as 12-step meetings and other support groups are losing their meeting spaces temporarily and the CDC has suggested that people do not gather in groups larger than 10. For a person in early recovery, the ones that have recently raised their hand in a meeting to identify themselves as new, this can be an uncertain time.

I think back to hearing old timers share about traveling over an hour to the closest meeting, often not having access to a meeting more than one time a week. Many 12 Step fellowships were formed during a time when stigma was great, and addicts and alcoholics were not allowed to congregate without fear of reprisal.  I imagine this was a challenging time to be in recovery as well.

Today, most of us are accustomed to daily meetings, multiple times a week, as well as a myriad of activities planned by the local area. It is hard to think about that access being limited by anything, but alas, here we are.

Over the past few days, I have seen people in recovery come together to make sure that newcomers, in between timers and old timers can ALL get to a meeting. Sometimes I think Facebook is the absolute worst, but today I am grateful for it. I have seen posts about meetings that have closed temporarily, which meetings are still open AND online meetings have been formed.

I am not surprised by what the 12-Step community has done to support one another during this time.  I am very proud of us and I am humbled to be a part of something bigger than myself.  I am guilty of being a little hysterical lately. There is a bit of uncertainty in my life right now and the Coronavirus is adding to my anxiety. However, one thing that I do know is that my recovery family has my back. They always have.  After all, I was a newcomer once too.