The Internet is abundant with online addiction support groups that give individuals in recovery a chance to reach out for help, no matter where they live or the time of day.
These groups allow you to connect with others who are also seeking the same type of stability in their lives without alcohol or drugs.
While there are many benefits to online therapy groups, researchers have shown that face-to-face meetings are more effective for a variety of reasons: they encourage you to be honest about your addiction, as well as offer you a physical, emotional, and one-on-one connection and feeling of belonging that you can’t get online.
Seeking Addiction Support
Making the decision to seek support for your substance abuse can be overwhelming. It is something that cannot be done alone and requires the assistance of recovery and support programs or groups. These can help you move forward with your life and continue on the road to sobriety.
Support groups are typically introduced after you have completed a treatment or rehabilitation program. Support groups give you a chance to surround yourself with others who can encourage you to remain sober. They are also a good source of inspiration and motivation.
In today’s world, addiction support groups are available in-person and online. It’s up to you to decide which style works for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several ways to find either type of support group:
- Ask your health care professional for referrals.
- Search online for forums, groups, blogs, or social networking sites.
- Call area treatment centers for information, as well as local community centers, churches, or libraries.
- Ask friends and family members who have been in the same situation for suggestions.
- Contact local, state, or national addiction treatment and support organizations for referrals.
Why Face-to-Face Support Groups Work
While more people are turning to the Internet for support because of its many benefits, it’s the face-to-face interaction that is truly helping those in recovery. According to the American Psychological Association, face-to-face meetings force you to be honest when sharing with others at meetings; online, it’s easier to avoid truthfulness.
Generally, people who abuse drugs or alcohol can struggle with honesty because lying makes it easier to control and maintain the addiction, as well as avoid the consequences associated with substance abuse. Honesty is typically relearned during the treatment and recovery process, and is more effective when learned in person rather than online.
Other advantages of face-to-face support groups are:
- Being able to bond or connect with others who could become healing and life-saving partners in recovery. An online group does not offer the same feeling of camaraderie or belonging.
- Being able to connect with a sponsor in person. Sponsorship is an important part of recovery; online sponsorship can distance the individuals involved.
- Being able to be of real service to others. Service is another large part of the recovery process. Online groups allow little opportunity for service.
- Being forced to take responsibility or be held accountable for your actions. It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen where you can simply lie about who you are and what you are doing.
Don’t Discredit Online Support Just Yet
Computer technology has had a large impact on the culture and social structure of this world. It seems more people are turning to the Internet and social media to connect with each other, and this includes in online addiction support groups. While experts are saying that in-person support is still the better choice, there are still a few advantages to virtual groups:
- Support for those living in remote areas or where weather can force you to stay off the roads.
- Option to attend meetings around the clock or when faced with a temptation or trigger.
- Ability to attend meetings even if you do not have transportation available or are unable to drive yourself.
Remember, There Is Hope
It doesn’t matter how dark or hopeless you feel. With the right treatment and support, you can stay on track and reclaim your life. While online addiction support may not be the best first choice, it can be highly effective when combined with in-person therapy and counseling.