Alcohol use disorder (also called alcohol addiction) is a serious disease that makes you feel unable to stop drinking.
For many people with this condition, peer support groups play an important role in recovery. Unfortunately, some of them lack the time or transportation necessary to attend in-person meetings.
If you or someone you love is looking for a more convenient way to get support, check out these five online groups.
What Are Online Alcohol Support Groups?
Online alcohol support groups are online communities that hold regular virtual meetings focused on alcohol addiction support.
Like in-person support groups, most online groups have a leader who guides the discussion. Each group member gets an opportunity to share their thoughts (if they feel comfortable doing so).
The groups can help you develop a strong support system, which is essential to long-term recovery. They also give you a chance to learn how other people manage recovery-related challenges, such as alcohol cravings, boredom, and mood swings.
In addition, they let you express your feelings in a safe, judgment-free environment with people who understand your struggles. Here are five of the best online support groups.
1. Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the most popular alcohol recovery programs in the world.
It encourages members to follow a 12-step program in which they confront their addictions, seek help from a higher power, and make amends to people they have harmed. At AA meetings, members discuss their experiences and encourage each other to stay sober.
Online AA meetings take place via video chat. Members can choose to have their webcams on or off. Also, some meetings are “open,” which means anyone interested in AA can join them.
Even people who don’t have alcohol use disorder may join as observers. Other meetings are “closed,” which means they only allow people who want to recover from alcohol use disorder.
There are also online support group meetings for Al-Anon. Modeled after AA, this group supports people who are affected by a family member or friend’s addiction.
2. SMART Recovery
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is an international community of addiction recovery support groups. Along with alcohol addiction, some groups also focus on other forms of drug addiction (substance use disorder).
The community helps people recover from substance abuse by managing their emotions and changing unhelpful behaviors. It teaches concepts popularized by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies.
Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery does not ask you to identify a higher power. Thus, it’s a good option for people who don’t like the religious nature of AA and other support groups.
The group regularly hosts online meetings through Zoom. Members can also connect with each other 24/7 via message boards and live chats.
3. LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing Secular Recovery teaches members to focus on three key ideas: sobriety, secularity, and self-help. Like SMART Recovery, it does not have any religious or spiritual undertones.
While members support each other, LifeRing also encourages them to develop their own personalized recovery plans. That’s because the group values independence and self-empowerment.
Along with online Zoom meetings, the group also offers 24/7 live chats and message boards. Members can also get one-on-one peer support through the ePals program.
4. Women For Sobriety
Women For Sobriety (WFS) is an addiction support group designed specifically for women struggling with alcohol abuse and other types of drug abuse. It welcomes all expressions of female identity.
The group emphasizes 13 acceptance statements that highlight empowerment and personal growth. Members also discuss strategies to improve their mental health, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
While WFS does not have video chat meetings, it offers a 24/7 message board along with scheduled online chats that occur once or twice a day. These services make it easy for women to discuss their unique recovery challenges and coping tips.
5. Recovery Dharma
Recovery Dharma is a nonprofit organization that guides people on the path to recovery using Buddhist philosophy.
It encourages members to focus on the Three Jewels, which are the Buddha, the Dharma (the path), and the Sangha (community). Members are taught to discover their own inner wisdom so they can achieve long-term sobriety.
The group holds online meetings through Zoom, Google Meet, and similar platforms. In addition to general meetings, the organization also hosts special meetings for specific groups, including women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and nonbinary people.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Along with attending support groups, it’s important to seek professional help at an alcohol addiction treatment program. These inpatient and outpatient programs offer personalized, comprehensive recovery plans to boost your well-being and reduce your risk of relapse.
To learn more about alcohol addiction treatment options, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters — Al-Anon Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous — What to Expect at an A.A. Meeting
Recovery Dharma — About
SMART Recovery — Online Meetings & Events
Women For Sobriety — About