Since March, I haven’t been to an in person 12 Step meeting. I’ve been to meetings, just not in person. And really, at this point even as we’ve had in person meetings open back up and some have gone to a hybrid mode (in person and zoom at the same time), I have no intention of going back for the foreseeable future. Not because I don’t need meetings, I do, but because I am not quite ready to go sit in a room with other people in recovery who may or may not be taking this pandemic seriously.
On a relatively frequent basis, the topic of how bad Zoom meetings are comes up.
“They aren’t the same.”
“I don’t feel like I get much out of them.”
“I miss actual contact. Physical hugs.”
I get it. Zoom meetings are not the same as in person meetings.
I’ve spent the past 23 years either directly building the internet, or helping people build the internet. I remember in the late nineties when a friend of mine asked me, “Do you ever think we’ll see video delivered over the internet?” I answered no, that it was too slow. And in 1996, it was. A 33.6 Kbps connection was blazing fast for a home user. I had no idea what I’d see over the next 10 years.
Broadband exploded in the early 2000’s and people started having fast connections at home. Technology improved exponentially and as connections got faster, we started streaming music and video over the internet. In 2007, the iPhone was introduced and the world was revolutionized. Suddenly we had portable screens with us at all hours of the day. Phone plans changed from talk time minutes to megabytes and gigabytes of data per month. In 2011, FaceTime made it’s debut.
And for all of that, I was still using conference calls for most of my business as late as 2017. In fact, it wasn’t until I joined my current company that I started to use video conferencing regularly. That was in 2017.
So, lets put some perspective on this whole Zoom thing in the pandemic. We are blessed, absolutely blessed, to have Zoom in this pandemic. As I said, I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and I only started using video conferencing from my home a few years ago.
While we may not have flying cars, this is some real George Jetson shit. If this pandemic had happened only a few short years ago, we would be in quite a pickle. We wouldn’t be getting on Zoom calls to complain about how they are not the same as in person meetings.
Look, I hate Zoom at this point. I use it all damn day for my job. I haven’t been to see a customer since March 12th and I don’t expect to make an in person sales call for the rest of 2020. The last thing I want to do in the evening is get on a Zoom call.
But when I said I wanted to get sober, I was asked if I was willing to to go any length to get there. So, I get on the calls.
Are they perfect? Not in the least. But I’ll take them over sitting around in a room with people who, lets face it, don’t always have the best track records with personal hygiene and health.
I recognize that I am privileged. I recognize that there are people who need in person meetings because they don’t have access to technology.
I am grateful for the technology and for my privilege. I think those of us in recovery who have these privileges, owe it to ourselves and to those less fortunate to be grateful rather than to bitch and moan about how the meetings aren’t as fulfilling.