Are Internet Forums Replacing AA?
For recovering alcoholics, 12-step meetings have long been the destination for obtaining support when temptation and triggers arise. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is commonly integrated into treatment programs, even during the first days of recovery. The philosophy behind these meetings is that they offer valuable peer-support and structure which are both valuable tools to prevent relapse.
While millions of individuals attend AA meetings on a regular basis, a new type of support group has gained in popularity with both those who are new to recovery, as well as some who have been sober for years. Internet forums, such as r/stopDrinking, serve as an online peer-support tool for those seeking accountability, monitoring and 24/7 support.
According to WashingtonPost.com, there are now more than 30,000 subscribing members to r/stopDrinking, and numbers keep growing. Some are using it to augment the support they receive in more traditional 12-step programs. However, others are using the forum as their sole support system. And although participation in internet forums like r/stopDrinking is gaining in popularity, due in part to our transition to the Internet and computer technology, traditional, sit-down meetings are still the main source for peer recovery groups.
It’s worth however, to compare and contrast internet recovery forums and AA style recovery groups.
The Differences And Similarities Between Internet Forums And AA
Internet recovery forums do not have the fundamental components of AA that include a Big Book, a collection of steps to follow or a unified philosophy. However, there is one distinct similarity between the two types of support. They both are focused on peer-support.
Interestingly, r/StopDrinking has flourished as researchers, clinicians and addiction specialists are rethinking the process of alcoholism treatment.
Several studies have shown that the success of 12-step programs does not come from the ritual introductions, the memorization of steps or reading the Big Book.
Rather, it’s the peer solidarity that keeps individuals engaged and centered on staying sober. This can be found both in internet recovery forums as well as 12-step meetings.
Proponents of online addiction recovery forums believe that treatment needs to be convenient and readily available. For some, this means going online and sharing in a forum, rather than in a fellowship hall.
Because AA is not the sole form of support for recovering alcoholics, online forums should be included in the growing list of tools to stay sober.
What Does This Mean For Addiction Treatment Providers?
Whether you have a single small rehab or manage multiple sites that serve hundreds or even thousands of clients, the reality is that it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest treatment options to stay competitive and to provide the highest level of service and care. When you’re focused on delivering the best outcomes, offering internet forums as one tool in a comprehensive addiction treatment program may be a wise decision.
Want to learn more about rehab marketing and strategies for continued success? Contact our experts at Addiction-Rep today!