Opinion: Zoom dooms some –

August 16, 2020 – When Covid-19 shuttered the world, it also shuttered AA, which is a lifeline for alcoholics like me.

I have depended on its meetings in church halls and community centres more than I have realised. Four months into the pandemic, I wrote on social media: ‘When will it open?’ I wandered around like a ghost which, in a way, I am.

There is another me, you see, and she is not a fortunate mother. She is a monster: a drunk; an insane person. I put her away a long time ago — my very own mad woman in the attic of my mind — but she will never really die. How can she, when she is part of me? She waits for me to feel weak and alone. Covid-19 was, for her, just another opportunity.

It is helpful for me to see alcoholism as a voice in my brain: me v. she. It doesn’t matter that they are both me. It makes the enemy explicit; and it is more comforting to imagine only part of you is mad rather than all of you.

When I was young and the alcoholic voice began — I was about 12, but much mental illness begins in adolescence — I thought I was mad. I heard a voice that told me to despair; to trust no one.

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