For the longest time, support for people in recovery was limited to in-person meetings or telephone conversations.
Attending 12-step meetings, 12-step alternative meetings, or chatting over the phone with your sponsor or other people in recovery were really the only choices. But since the birth of the Internet, the support options have increased dramatically. Now there are online meetings, addiction/recovery discussion forums, Twitter chats, Facebook groups, sobriety apps, and more.
In today’s world, if you have access to a computer or smart phone, a myriad of recovery support options are available to you right at your fingertips. With today’s technology, there are no longer any excuses for not seeking recovery help. Online support brings with it a number of advantages, too.
Here are 11 benefits of seeking online support in recovery.
Online support groups are terrific for you if you’re reluctant to go to in-person meetings, no matter what your reasons. Going online allows you to seek support without having to be face-to-face with people, which may be extremely hard if you’re an introvert, have social anxiety, or if you’re new to recovery.
It’s Always On
The Internet is up and running 24/7, every day of the year, so odds are you will always be able to find someone to connect to, no matter what time of day it is. It may be someone on the other side of the world in the wee hours of the morning, but sometimes that can be the perfect person to help in a time of crisis.
You Can Easily Expand Your Support Network
Having a large support network can be invaluable to people in recovery, and online support can help you expand your network exponentially. Finding people who are in situations similar to your own is so much easier when you have access to the millions of people online who are engaged in or seeking recovery. Online, you will quickly discover that you are not alone.
Let’s face it: Not everyone likes to attend support meetings in person, and thanks to the Internet you don’t have to. You can easily find and attend meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), SMART Recovery, and other groups online. It’s definitely the next best thing to being there.
Recovery at Your Own Pace
Sometimes you may feel pressured because you feel like you’re not recovering fast enough, or that you’re lagging behind compared to others in your group. But online support groups and meetings allow you to recover at your own pace. If you prefer to move slowly, the online path may be the best, most comfortable way to go.
Online support groups and discussion forums bring with them a plethora of learning opportunities. People are always providing links to valuable information or sharing their stories of addiction and recovery. By tapping into an online network, you expand your ability to learn from others. And knowledge is power.
It’s a Great Maintenance Tool
Online support can be a tremendous tool, even for people who attend regular meetings, therapy sessions, or outpatient treatment. Sometimes there can be a strong need to stay active in your recovery between meetings or appointments. Going online for community and support can be a great way to tide you over and maintain sobriety until your next face-to-face encounter.
It’s Easily Accessible
Getting to a meeting isn’t easy for everyone. You may not have a car or a reliable public transportation system available to you. Or, you may live in a rural area where meetings are few and far between. It’s even harder to get to a meeting if you are disabled and home- or wheelchair-bound. If you fit into one of these categories, online support groups and meetings, which you can attend from the comfort of your own home, are truly a godsend.
In recent years, some concern has been raised over the safety of 12-step meetings, especially for women. There are people who believe that some men use the vulnerability of women attending meetings to their advantage, and that some members are actually sexual predators. If you have similar concerns, online meetings offer a much safer alternative.
It’s a Great Way to Start
It’s no secret that making the decision to seek recovery is one of the most difficult parts of the process. And walking into a meeting full of strangers can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating. Taking the first step online can make things much easier by eliminating a lot of the fear and anxiety associated with admitting your problem for the first time.
Virtually every form of online support for addiction/recovery is completely free of charge. If you have access to the Internet, you’re all set. You don’t have to worry about gas money, public transit costs, feeling obligated to make a cash donation, or any other money-related issue.