Alcoholics Anonymous members find support online during coronavirus pandemic

Alcoholics Anonymous has brought its gatherings online to maintain social distancing.

AA and NA meetings at The Meeting Space in Las Vegas are taking extra precautions amid the pandemic to keep recovery on track.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- People recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are taking on new challenges to comply with social distancing guidelines.

After nonessential businesses were told to close, Lisa Trevino, owner of The Meeting Space in the southwest Las Vegas Valley, was unsure if her business was considered essential.

After speaking with Clark County commissioners and the governor’s office, she was told to stay open.

Some people felt that she should close and began criticizing her on Facebook, but she handled it accordingly.

"I posted something eventually that basically said, ‘There is a rumor going around that we're supposed to be closed, but we're not.’ We got permission, we were told to be open, so we've been open ever since. And we have been following the guidelines," said Trevino.

Those guidelines make things a little tricky for people who need to meet to stay on track in their sobriety. 

Before coronavirus, meetings could sometimes consist of more than 100 people. 

"Currently, we’re supposed to have ten people per room with six feet per chair," said Trevino. "If we end up having more than ten people, we'll have one person take a couple of people into a second room or even a third room to create subsequent meetings going on at the same time."

The Meeting Space is also doing phone and Zoom meetings online but Trevino said that doesn’t work for some people.

"There are people that come here that live out of their car. There are people that are technologically not savvy,” said Trevino. 

A lot of things had to change during meetings. 

People cannot hug when someone reaches a milestone or hold hands during prayer, but Trevino said meeting in person for some is essential -- potentially life saving.

“There are people that suffer from grave levels of PTSD and suicidal ideations, and the idea of being alone is a very, very dangerous thing for them," said Trevino.

If you would like to find a listing of meetings, you can visit The Meeting Space's website.

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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