June 1, 2021 – This is a call to prioritization rather than prominence. Most AA members have a “favorite Step” (mine is Ten, because promptly admitting my wrongs seldom comes easy). Neither I nor anyone else has the right to rank Steps by their value for others (with the possible exception of Step One, since its consistent practice is a prerequisite for the program’s eleven ensuing suggestions).

No, this is about a specific Step for a specific time in a specific place. As we reconvene in-person with green or recently returning members tainted by Zoom’s imperfections, showing them that our pay-it-forward program is more conducive to IRL than URLs takes on an urgency not seen, perhaps, since AA’s very inception. Simply put, we need to schmooze them before we lose them – and we’re starting from an even larger hole than usual.

Helping a new or returning member build a sober foundation isn’t easy even in optimal conditions. Now, we’re dealing with a year’s worth of would-be newcomers who think Zoom reflects all AA has to offer – which, in far too many cases, is exceedingly little. It’s not their fault: they need us to replace their poor experience with pure experience, and pronto. Does that mean taking on a new sponsee or two or five? Perhaps. As we reopen, the newcomers walking through those church basement doors likely are not only disgusted with themselves but disenchanted with AA, due to the inferior format to which they’ve been subjected for upwards of a year. If you can grab a few and walk them through the Steps – which we all know helps us as much as it helps them, if not more – then please do. But as someone with a five-year-old future alcoholic (I’m kidding… I hope) at home, I know full well that not everyone has that kind of time. So really, this is more a call to hypervigilance. As AA reopens, let’s keep our eyes open for newcomers who really, REALLY need AA to be better than it’s been during COVID.



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