Author Johann Hari asserts that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but human connection.” It is, therefore, imperative to consider how people communicate in the 21st century. For better or worse, digital communication is embedded in our daily lives and has reshaped the recovery world. If utilized properly, the internet can deepen one’s commitment to recovery while offering up invaluable opportunities for connection, accountability, and ultimately, addiction treatment.
Addicts who formerly cited introversion and a desire for anonymity as justifications for avoiding treatment, no longer have that excuse. The internet provides countless options for treatment that ranges from smartphone apps to online forums and meetings. Even those associations rooted in more traditional treatment approaches like AA now offer online meetings and support forums.
As is the case with any information obtained online, it’s important to first do your homework regarding the various options. Not all online support communities are created equal and you may need to bounce around a bit before finding something that resonates.
Many of my clients utilize digital recovery tools as a supplement to their face-to-face treatment. You’d be hard-pressed to find a recovered addict who cites only one support resource in her journey to success. More commonly, you hear addicts reference their recovery toolbox–a metaphorical carrying case for all of the tools, resources, and supports they have collected along the way.
Below, you will find a diverse list of online addiction treatment resources that, by no means, scratch the surface of what’s available digitally:
Women For Sobriety, Inc. describes itself as “A non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. It is, in fact, the first national self-help program for women alcoholics. Our ‘New Life’ Program helps achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing recovery.”
In addition to the 13 affirmation statements of the New Life program, participants can access daily chat forums, useful resource links, and information regarding conferences and local WFS support groups. The forum topics range from daily struggles to humor and creativity in recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, arguably the most recognized recovery programs, now provide comprehensive online services. The meetings include options based on gender, sexuality, profession, and disabilities. There are also links for international users based on language preference.
Alcoholics Anonymous describes itself as, “A fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
Narcotics Anonymous is described as, “a community of addicts, working together to share our experience, strength, and hope to stay clean.”
According to its website, “SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for addiction recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups.”
The SMART Recovery site offers online forums, information regarding local meetings, and countless printable resources.
Boasting more than 155,000 members, the forums of Sober Recovery range from newcomer groups to addiction-specific discussion boards. Regardless of where you are in your personal recovery journey, you are likely to connect with others battling similar circumstances. In addition to the forums, this site affords users with timely news articles, personal success stories, and information regarding more intensive recovery options.
The comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page provides newcomers with a concrete overview of the diverse resources on the site.
Hip Sobriety School
As perceptions of substance abuse shift and research regarding recovery diversifies, countless alternatives to treatment are emerging. One such example is Hip Sobriety School – the brainchild of Holly Glenn. While navigating her own battle with drugs and alcohol, Holly found traditional recovery options unappealing and designed her own journey within a very positive framework. She shares her experiences on the Hip Sobriety Site and leaves readers with the sense that a substance-free life is far from a sacrifice.
Hip Sobriety School utilizes a group coaching approach while equipping participants with community, knowledge, and manageable steps to overcome addictive behaviors. Enrollment is limited to a certain number of participants and there is a fee for participation.
“LifeRing supports methods relying ‘on human efforts rather than on divine intervention.’ For them, self-help means that the key to recovery lies in the individual’s own motivation and effort, and the group is there to reinforce his or her own inner efforts.”
LifeRing boasts a vibrant online community that affords users with access to emotional and material supports. The website’s bookstore carries literature supportive of the organization’s secular mission*.
The world of digital substance abuse support is by no means limited to forums. Smartphone apps can serve as wonderful supplements to the treatment journey. Content ranges from sobriety tracking to live chats with trained addiction specialists. Unlike face-to-face supports, these apps are available to users 24/7 and can enhance one’s sense of accountability and connectedness.
According to Healthline.com, these are the top Addiction iPhone and Android phone apps in 2015 for recovering addicts, specifically alcoholics:
- Stop Drinking with Andrew Johnson
- Twenty-four Hours a Day
- Amwell: Live Doctor Visits Now
- AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker
- 12 Steps AA Companion
- My Daily Journal
- I am Sober
- Sobriety Counter
Many of my clients report that findings from a particular article or essay finally made things “click” in their recovery journeys. Sobriety blogs abound in cyberspace and range in focus from scientific research to personal essays. As you stumble upon pieces that strike a chord, consider grouping them in a recovery-focused folder. You never know when you might benefit from revisiting those stories that truly hit home.
Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most highly related recovery blogs as determined from After Party Magazine:
- It’s a Lush Life
- Addiction & Recovery News
- She Recovers
- Veronica Valli
- Guinevere Gets Sober
- Addiction Blog
- An Addiction in Our Son’s Bedroom
- Since Right Now
- A Hangover Free Life
- Last Call
- Malibu Mom
- Sober Senorita
- Thirsty Still
- I Fly at Night
- Hip Sobriety
- Sober Courage
- The Sobriety Collective
- Mrs. D Is Going Without
- Catholic Alcoholic
The internet opens up exciting windows for addiction treatment that were previously unavailable. Whether you gravitate toward traditional treatment approaches or more eclectic, alternative options, you can find something online that resonates. Connecting with sobriety resources and supports on the internet does not preclude you from seeking face-to-face treatment. Many addicts use the internet to supplement their existing treatment modalities while others find it a comfortable way to “test the waters” of recovery.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that addiction and treatment come in different shapes and forms. By having access to such diverse recovery tools, you can design an addiction treatment approach that nurtures your unique needs. There are other people out there who are ready to share their struggles and successes with you. You are, quite possibly, just a keystroke away from the future you deserve.
Jen Anderson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Sobriety Coach, and former alcohol enthusiast living in Florida with her husband and son.