The Rise of Online Support Groups for Drug Addiction

shutterstock_209648002

Numerous websites began in response to a desire for individuals with addictions to find support online. Alcohol and drug abuse are becoming more prevalent as is the need for help. Addictions take many forms but all are detrimental to the physical and mental health of the person addicted as well as family and friends who care about them. Individuals who struggle with addiction need assistance and more often than not the first place they turn to is online.

 

Online Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a proven tool for recovery from alcohol addiction. Help is now available online with feedback from the online support forums by current members. While not a replacement for face-to-face counseling or group therapy, AA online can provide tangible, useful support for individuals who are not able or willing (yet) to seek help in person. Other 12-step recovery programs also host online forums, peer groups, discussions and provide useful tips or advice for individuals seeking support. A quick search term of online support groups for addiction comes up with many alternatives to in person meetings which some may find useful.

 

In-person versus Online

 

In-person

Recent research announced at a recent annual meeting of the American Psychological Association demonstrated attendance at in-person meetings may be more effective for people who want to remain sober in the long term. Although this may be a forum for some people, others may desire to connect with people online or via social media.

 

Online

A hotly debated media topic is the increased use of social networking and media to replace in-person or face-to-face contact with others. Social consequences, some argue, are the lack of connection (in spite of the connectivity) and a sense of isolation or loneliness. These are detrimental to a person in recovery as isolation can lead to relapse. People tend to be more honest online with others than in person but a virtual recovery meeting is not the same as one conducted in person in terms of reading other people, practicing listening skills and being present with others in community. For instance, it is more difficult to meet with people from an online forum to go for coffee or tea after a meeting than it is when conducted in person. For this reason, some people choose to attend a live meeting versus one conducted solely online or choose to mix the two together. Whatever way works best is the one an individual should choose, so long as it supports sobriety and healthy living principles in recovery.