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The Benefits Of Online Recovery Support Groups

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 20, 2019

Online support groups benefit the person who has completed treatment and is now entering a life of recovery. This transition is a challenging one, and once a person leaves a drug treatment program, they often enter a world very similar to the one they left behind, but with one significant difference; they no longer rely on drugs to cope. Learning to cope takes time and support. Online recovery support groups offer one reasonable and accessible means to get support at any hour, and from the comfort of your home.

Benefits Of Recovery Support Groups Following Drug Treatment

There are many benefits to support groups, in general. They help someone feel less isolated as they learn to cope with day-to-day routine. Support groups also highlight aspects of recovery that may not be covered during treatment, including the nuances of returning to life post-treatment for drug addiction to the physical side effects that sometimes remain.

Recovery support groups are a good place to get advice or gain additional coping skills that work for others. These groups can also help connect you with other resources, including ongoing medical or treatment recovery options available to you.

Key Benefits To Online Drug Recovery Support

  • Accessibility
  • Anonymity
  • Free
  • Direct or passive involvement
  • Stress reduction
  • Empowerment
  • Clarity

Added Benefit Of Online Recovery Support Groups

The added benefits afforded by online recovery support groups include around the clock accessibility. Online support groups broaden your network of support beyond your region to include people in other countries, across multiple time zones, so that no matter the time of day or night, there is an outlet or a source of support available. You can write about your struggles and your triumphs from the comfort of your home, dressed for work, or in your pajamas.

There is also an added degree of anonymity with online support groups. Something you may have struggled to talk about seated amid other people may be easier to reveal and discuss in an online support format. It also reduces any concerns over differences in social status.

Online recovery support groups are free (other than any costs associated with internet use), making them an accessible tool used in conjunction with regular counseling sessions.

While in face-to-face groups, there is an anticipation of direct involvement; online groups do not require or assume involvement. In fact, many people who access online support groups, do so to read relevant postings, a passive, but helpful form of involvement.

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Connecting with others, while writing about and reflecting on your recovery from drug addiction can have positive health impacts. This act of reflection has been linked to an overall reduction in physical sensations of stress and pain. For many, utilizing resources like an online recovery support group helps them feel empowered toward managing aspects of their recovery. This relates particularly to the availability of information, assembled and reviewed by a group of peers. They can share helpful information as well, giving them some control in the process.

In addition to the other benefits of an online support group, some feel they are provided with regular access to the realistic issues that unfold during the recovery phase. A regular visitor to the site can see how someone who has struggled worked to overcome those struggles, which can prove helpful to a person going through similar struggles. The online format tends to encourage a level of rawness and honesty; a realistic portrait of the issues people face when leaving treatment and taking those first steps into a life of recovery.

What To Look For In An Online Recovery Support Group

Not all online recovery support groups are the same. It’s important to review a few before selecting one that will work best for you. A good way to locate a support group that has proven useful to others is to ask a treatment professional, your doctor, counselor, or others you’ve met during treatment.

Those with experience are likely to recommend a group that not only appears active, but that has a dedicated moderator. Moderators keep comments that seek to demoralize others from circulating, and can sometimes direct the group on a topic. At the same time, these moderators should not control the conversation so much so that people feel inhibited to share their thoughts or feelings.

Be on the lookout for those in the group who may not have your best interests in mind. This includes people trying to sell you a product or service or those who promise quick fixes to your problems. Despite the fact that you may choose to share information relating to your addiction, treatment, and recovery, be careful not to give out personal information like your name, phone number, or address.

Most importantly, remember to continue face-to-face meetings. While an online option is helpful, building new relationships with people outside of treatment is an essential part of your recovery process. A nice message is great, but sometimes a hug can do the talking.

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