It’s all anyone seems to be talking about, but the news about COVID-19 or coronavirus and how it spreads is a good reminder of the ways we can protect ourselves from illness, while continuing to focus on our recovery by attending 12-step meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other 12-step meetings are the type of gathering where illnesses like the coronavirus can easily be transmitted, and so here are our tips for steering clear while staying on track.

1. Unless you are living somewhere that is hosting meetings, do not attend 12-step meetings in person. Given the current circumstances, your safest bet is to avoid gatherings altogether, and attend meetings online via tools like In The Rooms and Online Intergroup. Al-Anon meetings are also taking place online, so family members and loved ones can continue their own journeys of recovery.

2. Stay in touch with your sponsor and other friends in recovery, and crack open the books. Stay connected by reaching out to your support network via text, FaceTime, social media, and all the other ways technology allows us to be in touch without being physically present.

3. If you are still attending meetings within your residence, take a break from shaking and holding hands, and follow the current advice to maintain a 2 metre distance from those around you. Traditions can help to keep us grounded, but for now, head nods and subtle bows are a nice way of greeting someone without transferring germs. During the Serenity Prayer, maintain that distance.

4. When you’re helping to tidy up the room (you do help with the tidying up, don’t you?!), be conscious about not touching your face after you’ve touched chairs, coffee cups, books, door handles, light switches, etc., and go wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds when you’re done.

5. Panic helps no one. Follow the guidelines given by local public health authorities, and use your common sense to keep yourself and your community safe.