NO MORE ZOOM GLOOM –
April 8, 2021 – “You could hear the plopping of her poo,” he recalls. “She put the camera back on her face like nothing happened.”) Meetings were attacked by Zoom bombers. Hate speech filled the chat. The screen was hijacked with porn. A troll showed us his butt. It was disheartening. I heard a story about someone relapsing after a meeting that was bombed with racist hate. It made them feel unwelcome, and they drank over that feeling. Eventually we figured out rules, passwords, and waiting rooms, and enlisted moderators. Things got more manageable. But it still wasn’t the same as IRL meetings.
On the evening of March 5, 2020, I sat in a 12-step meeting in Beverly Hills with more than a hundred other people. While the speaker was sharing, someone coughed. You could feel everybody in the room tense up. The speaker made a joke, but nobody laughed. That single cough was scarier than getting booked for a DUI. It would be my last in-person meeting. Around that time, my spring comedy tour was canceled. The only places that seemed to be open were liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries. One of my biggest reasons for quitting marijuana, the alpha and omega of my using, was that I was sharper on stage without it. The stage was gone now. I was either going to throw myself into online recovery or I was going to get drunk and high. I spent 11 years in my first year of sobriety, but I got a full year sober on Dec. 29, 2019, and I’d kept it up as we entered the pandemic. There’s an old saying, “If you don’t like the speaker, go to another meeting.” Now we’re able to do it in a few clicks, thanks to volunteers who’ve created directories of online meetings all over the world. It’s been wild to have the option of waking up on a Saturday and thinking, I’d like to meditate with a group in the next 15 minutes, and then find that option in Portland, Oregon.