It’s been a little over a year since most places across the country were ordered to suspend their in-person operations. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shift to remote work, with meetings being held virtually. While recognizing the need for continued support group meetings for people in recovery, 12-Step programs also shifted to online meetings. In Honolulu, some restrictions are being lifted and many people are eager to know when in-person AA meetings will resume.
Many of the restrictions first put into place at the beginning of the pandemic have been relaxed somewhat but there are some that are still being enforced, for everyone’s health and safety. The island of Oahu entered Tier 3 status in February 2021, meaning that very small social gatherings will be allowed once more. However, all businesses and non-profit organizations must continue to adhere to restrictions regarding mask wearing and social distancing.
Tier 4 status is expected to be enacted when the number of COVID cases is reduced significantly. The test positivity rate must be less than 1% and the 7-day average case count must be less than 20 before Honolulu moves to the next stage. At that point, restrictions will be lifted further.
Although many businesses will be allowed a reduced capacity of individuals, in-person AA meetings may still not resume for some time. There are some chapters that are allowing individuals to participate in person, while continuing to follow guidelines for health and safety.
Narcotics Anonymous Hawaii has opened up some face-to-face meetings. Participants are advised to be prepared to practice social distancing, wear a face mask, or to sign a contact tracing form to attend an NA meeting.
The Oahu Intergroup of HI, Inc., states that it has received notice that some AA meetings are re-opening and will be available for in-person meetings. Many of the face-to-face meetings are scheduled to be held outdoors, since there are still restrictions as to the number of individuals allowed indoors and to allow safe discussions in the open air.
Online Meeting Options
For those who are not comfortable with in-person meetings but who need to attend a support group meeting in recovery, there continue to be online options available. One advantage to online meetings is that they don’t necessarily need to be held locally in order for someone from Honolulu to participate. There are meetings available throughout the state of Hawaii, beginning as early as 6am and as late as 9pm, 7 days a week, so even the busiest professional can participate.
The Importance of Connection
It’s difficult to predict when many in-person events, including AA meetings, will open back up completely. The trend is heading in an optimistic direction, with reduced COVID cases and more people being vaccinated. However, precautions will need to be taken for some time, including mask wearing and social distancing, to ensure that Honolulu, the state of Hawaii, and the rest of the US continue on a positive path.
In the meantime, it is important to continue to participate in support meetings, including those online meetings if they are the only option. Maintaining a connection with a network of positive support can be critical to an individual’s recovery. As the pandemic continues, and isolation remains a major factor in many people’s lives, it is especially important to have other people to talk to about challenges with addiction and recovery.
A positive support group can also help reinforce the need to make healthy choices. Attending meetings, in-person or online, on a regular basis and continuing to connect with a sponsor can help the individual recovering from addiction with a reassurance that there are other people who care about them and who want to keep them on the road to recovery.
Addiction Treatment in Hawaii
Providence Treatment has expanded and now provides evidence-based addiction treatment and recovery services to professionals in Hawaii. Under the leadership of Dr. William J. Heran, who first began working in Honolulu in 1985, we offer assessments and treatments that may include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), EMDR and Exposure Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), based on your individualized needs.
To maintain everyone’s health and safety, we provide these services via telehealth, in accordance with CDC and WHO COVID-19 guidelines. Call us at (808) 445-6780 to get started on your addiction treatment in Hawaii.