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Alcoholics Anonymous continues to offer help during pandemic

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One business that has seen significant growth during the coronavirus pandemic is sales of alcoholic beverages. In New York state, restrictions on carry out and delivery of alcohol sales have been relaxed significantly during stay-at-home orders. But, easier access along with the stress of social isolation may lead to people having problems with alcohol.

  Chris Y is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He says that even though they are not able to hold meetings in person, they have adapted to life during the pandemic.

“What we have been able to do is to orchestrate Zoom meetings through our websites. You can go on any website and look for an online meeting and click in with either video or just just listen in. We're here for you if you think you may have a problem with alcohol and call Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Alcoholics Anonymous is available by phone 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week in the Finger Lakes at 315-789-5955 or on the web at

As for what Alcoholics Anonymous can offer, Chris Y read the organization’s preamble to me when we spoke over the phone.

“Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. This is our only requirement. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. And then it goes on to talk about there's no dues or fees that we're not allied with any sect, denomination, any politic, organization or institution. We don't endorse or oppose any causes. But our primary purposes is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. That is our preamble.”

Alcoholics Anonymous currently holds online meetings every day. I asked Chris Y. what one can expect in a meeting.

“You can expect that we're all here for the same goal to help you find out your truth. Whether you have a problem with alcohol or not, only the individual can deem themselves as alcoholic. There's no member of Alcoholics Anonymous that will do that. That is a personal journey of admittance, of being alcoholic. And it's all about choice and control, for me personally. There are times in my life where I when I picked up the drink, I didn't know how long I would be drinking or and or what I would where I would end up. So, that was my personal breaking point.”

While meetings are being hosted online via Zoom, a computer or smartphone isn’t necessary to attend a meeting. Participants can join in from any phone line.

In addition to individuals who think they may be having a problem with alcohol, Alcoholics Anonymous is also ready to educate and cooperate with professionals that come in contact with alcoholics in different capacities. Anyone can call the hotlines, which is answered 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.

Kelly Walker started his public radio career at WBAA in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1985 and has spent some time in just about every role public broadcasting has to offer. He has spent substantive time in programming and development at KWMU in St. Louis, WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana, and Troy Public Radio in Alabama before his arrival in Geneva, New York. In addition, his work has been heard on many other public radio stations as well as NPR. Kelly also produces The Sundilla Radio Hour, which airs Sundays at 1 p.m. on Finger Lakes Public Radio and is distributed to public radio stations all over the country through PRX.
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