Addiction recovery meetings are a valuable tool for long-term recovery. Support groups offer guidance and encouragement from people who understand the complex journey of recovery.
Sometimes, circumstances make it difficult to attend in-person meetings. You could be traveling, sick, caring for a loved one or stuck at home. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t have to get in the way of your recovery. Meeting online or over the phone can help you keep you in touch with your support group. Online addiction support groups are available every day of the week and often 24/7.
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Benefits of Online Support Groups
Recovery does not have to be a lonely process. Addiction recovery meetings allow people to come together and support one another’s journey. There are many benefits of joining a support group and attending meetings regularly. Support groups can help you:
- Feel encouraged. Hearing other people’s similar experiences with addiction and recovery and telling your own story can bring you hope and comfort during the process.
- Be accountable. Seeing your peers each week can instill more responsibility for your actions than going through recovery alone.
- Cope with challenges. People in recovery can give you practical tools and helpful advice to cope with life’s challenges.
- Grow relationships. Support groups are a place to make new friends, build trust and get a fresh start with people who are rooting for your lifelong recovery.
In addition to the benefits of support groups in general, online meetings can offer:
- Flexibility. There is an online recovery meeting for every day of the week and most times of day, so it’s usually easy to find something to fit your schedule. Some types of online support groups, like forums, are available 24/7.
- A wider network. While in-person meetings are sometimes limited in size and location, online support groups help you access new people and perspectives you may not get locally.
- Easy access. Online recovery meetings can happen anywhere with a stable internet connection. You can be at home or traveling abroad and still attend your meeting.
- Extra support. If your regular support group isn’t available, having another online group (or groups) to reach out to can help.
What to Expect from Online Recovery Meetings
Many of the things you can expect from in-person recovery meetings still apply when it’s online or over the phone. They are often led by peers in recovery and can be organized around topics or a free discussion. Different types of meetings, like 12-step groups or SMART Recovery meetings, will tackle different things.
For those who may not be comfortable with computers or the internet, meeting online can seem intimidating or stressful. Thankfully, people host online addiction recovery meetings on many platforms and websites. There’s a good chance you’ll find one using a program you’re comfortable with.
Support groups can also meet over the phone, using VoIP apps like Skype, through conferencing apps like Zoom, on social media websites like Facebook, via text-based forums and more.
To get the most out of an online recovery meeting, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Phone meetings & VoIP: This type of meeting will have a call-in number or use a program like Skype so everyone can be in a group call. Make sure your phone is fully charged before starting and take turns speaking so everyone can be heard. Headphones can help make the meeting more private if you wish.
- Video conferencing: Video conferences allow for more non-verbal communication than a phone call, which can help you better connect with fellow attendees. Online tools that allow multiple people to video chat at once require a stable internet connection to work properly. Be patient with others if their internet connection is not perfect.
- Text-based meetings: Meetings on social media platforms or forums are often not connected to specific times, making them the most flexible online option. Keep in mind responses can be delayed and spread out over time, and privacy is not an expectation on these channels. Text-only messages can often be misunderstood, so try to give the benefit of the doubt when communicating with others online.
- App-based meetings: Phone apps designed specifically for hosting recovery meetings online can offer a combination of video conferencing, voice and chat options. The Recovery Village Telehealth app offers access to group counseling and the ability to anonymously create and host meetings with up to 100 people. Sober social networking apps like SoberGrid and Loosid can also serve as a secondary support group with a wide network of fellow people in recovery.
Resources to Find Online Recovery Meetings
Many addiction support group organizations offer search tools to find online meetings. Here are a few:
- Al-Anon Electronic Meetings (video conference calls, VoIP and phone)
- Nar-Anon Family Groups Forum (forum only)
- Online Service Area Of Cocaine Anonymous (email and VoIP only)
- Marijuana Anonymous Find a Meeting (video conference calls, voice, text chat and phone)
- Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) Meeting Directory (video conference calls and VoIP)
- Smart Recovery Online Meetings & Events (video conference calls, VoIP and text chat)
Some locator apps for local addiction recovery meetings, like SoberMap, also offer online meetings in their search, so they can be a good resource to check.
Many addiction treatment programs make attending a support group a mandatory part of an aftercare plan because of the numerous benefits for those in recovery from addiction. If your circumstances make it difficult or impossible to attend an in-person meeting, online recovery meetings can be the solution that helps you commit to lifelong wellbeing.