People who have recently sought help for addiction have found it particularly hard during lockdown.
That is according to addiction counsellor Austin Prior, who says online meetings are not the same as face to face interactions.
However he says there may be no alternative.
Dozens of AA groups, which only resumed face-to-face operations last month after a six-month suspension, have again voluntarily suspended meetings after the HSE wrote to the organisation about a meeting that breached COVID-19 guidelines.
But concerns have been expressed that groups providing an essential addiction service - such as AA and Narcotics Anonymous - could effectively be forced to shut down at a time when they are most needed.
Addiction counsellor Austin Prior told Ciara Kelly on Newstalk Breakfast: "The concern is the obvious one: it's a huge source of support for people."
"There are different implications for different groups - for longer-term people who are around a while, [and have] built up a relationship within their groups, it's a little bit easier for them because they probably have kept up the relationship.
"It's easier for them to go on to the online, the Zoom meetings, and connect in with people.
"The other side of it of course is that one of the basic principles of all those fellowships is to be able to accept things that you cannot change.
"And so something you can't change, there's no point in railing about it: you have to find another way of dealing with it."
"People who are around a good while would probably make sure that they foster the relationships that they have and keep in touch with people on a daily basis by phone, they'll meet up two or three people for a coffee - they'll do things like that.
"For people who are new - who are trying to struggle - this lockdown, the whole pandemic, has definitely thrown up much more problems around alcohol.
"So for people who are trying to make a start, it's a little bit more difficult for them."
He said the "first port of call" for these people would be "to get on to the central office of the AA, or CA or NA and find out where the online and Zoom meetings are".
"It's very hard to beat the benefit of the face to face meeting, but the reality is when you have nothing else I think the online meetings are better than nothing".
But he said there was "a lot of concern" how the meetings would be managed indoors.
Asked if the issue of relapse was a a bigger risk than COVID-19, he said: "You could say at one level the biggest danger is relapse, but there's a huge logistical problem if they said 'no we're going to keep the meetings open', then somebody has to police them, somebody has to count the numbers, somebody has to make sure that people are wearing masks".