He’s one of rock’s best musicians, famously supporting vocalists Rod Stewart and (for the last several decades) Mick Jagger as a guitarist in the Rolling Stones.
He’s also a supporter of thousands who’ve never met him in person, most likely never will, and yet are grateful for him every day.
“I’m Ronnie, and I’m an addict,” guitarist Ron Wood said by way of introduction from his Facebook page a week ago. “To those in AA and NA and other recovery support groups who won’t be able to go to meetings during #Coronaviruslockdown, I hope these readings help you as much as they help me.”
One of the videos Wood has posted is on the power of hope.
“I will share this reading with my Higher Power, and my friends. I will also share this with those who have lost hope,” Wood says. Then he reads: “Hope is believing that good will come, even in bad times. Hope is knowing that this too shall pass … hope is giving up control; hope is knowing we never had control in the first place. Hope is believing in ourselves. Hope is what our program is all about.”
Staying at home is difficult for everyone, but for those who depend on meetings with to help stay sober, this is an especially difficult time.
As the New York Times put it, “For people who struggle with sobriety, for whom isolation is excruciating and group support essential, the ban on group gatherings to combat the spread of the coronavirus is pure hell.”
Members of AA who live in Telluride are doing what they can to reach out to keep the support, and the love, flowing in a difficult time. It is a robust, highly committed, extremely supportive group: Formed by just a couple of members about 30 years ago, as Telluride itself has grown, membership in the group has swelled to about 75 (with three dozen or so regulars who participate at any given meeting).
“Alcoholism is everywhere; it affects our visitors as well as us. And we have a lot of visitors,” said the group’s spokesman, “Ted,” who wished to remain anonymous.
A lot of visitors own second homes in Telluride, but have chosen to attend meetings at this particular chapter of AA, year after year. Meetings are typically held at Christ Presbyterian Church most days of the week and Alpine Chapel on Thursdays. But for right now, they’re on the video conferencing app Zoom. At a meeting last week, attendees Zoomed in from Mexico, New York City, California, Thailand “and all places in-between,” Ted said. “Our thing is to get it out there” that meetings have moved online, and help is available, he added, “because people could be without a job or money and really be struggling. We want to make it as easy as possible for them.”
In addition to attending a meeting on the app, “people can call 970-728-7270 if they need someone to talk to.”
There’s no pressure to speak in the meetings, and “Zoom has not been too crowded,” Ted said. “There are Zoom meetings all over the world now, and probably a lot of them are a lot bigger than ours. In a normal meeting, there are people who come and listen and never share. It’s no different in Zoom. People share if they’re moved. Some people just like to listen.”
Everyone seems to agree, this group is unique — and its support is especially needed now.
“I’m biased, but I hear from a lot of our members that our group is pretty special,” Ted said. “The love, the recovery here is really good. I’ve been all over the world, and wherever I go, I attend meetings. I think where there's good partying, there’s good recovery. I truly mean that. It sounds corny, but it’s true.”
Telluride AA group meetings are Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. (Zoom access code: 229140239); Saturdays at 10 a.m. (code 184397502), and 7 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays (code 286675353). Text or call 970-729-1120 if you need help installing Zoom.