The 7 Benefits of Online Recovery Meetings and Groups
The world of online recovery meetings has boomed since the covid-19 pandemic. When before, the only option was to attend groups in person, call up a sponsor, or email a therapist. Today, the ability to maintain recovery and remain active in treatment has expanded, with a huge increase in online recovery groups.
Not only this, but online recovery forums, blogs dedicated to recovery, sobriety apps, and so many more virtual recovery tools have popped up as a result of online recovery communities.
The world now is returning to a sense of normalcy with in-person meetings up and running once again. However, there are countless benefits to using online recovery groups in an effort to maintain sobriety and find connection.
What are online recovery Zoom meetings?
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, rehabs, treatment centres, peer support groups, and many other groups only offered face-to-face meetings. Unfortunately, the pandemic created a barrier for many with substance use disorders. Those in recovery quickly found themselves unable to attend treatment due to social distancing precautions.
Even those far along in sustained abstinence in recovery found themselves struggling with difficult emotions and increased stressors. The lack of connection facilitated by public health guidelines proved to be more and more difficult for many to bear. Many faced the fear of the unknown and found themselves on the edge of relapse.
In addition to this, covid also took away the coping skills and hobbies many found themselves relying on in their recovery. Nearly overnight, people were unable to meet with friends and loved ones, go to movies and restaurants, or go to the gym. This lack of ability to engage in one’s outlets while feeling increasingly more stressed created a recipe for relapse.
Because of the great need for recovery to continue during Covid, many treatment facilities, rehab programmes, and organisations including AA transitioned into offering online Zoom meetings and support.
An online recovery meeting is just what it sounds like – a recovery meeting that takes place virtually online. Although in-person meetings are incredibly beneficial, there’s no denying they carry with them their own set of barriers. Some of these barriers include accessibility, cost or pressure to contribute financially, or fear of stigma.
Research suggests that online recovery communities have been effective in reducing substance use. They may even have similar results as in-person treatment interventions. The benefits of online meetings are truly compelling at any stage of recovery.
The benefits of online recovery zoom meetings 24/7
Research shows that approximately 314 million people struggle with addiction. A study published in 2019 shares that only around 20% of those with addiction actually seek treatment.
Some of the reasons so many aren’t seeking treatment include perceived stigma, lack of accessible treatment resources, time conflicts for engaging in treatment, and forced abstinence.
Ongoing discourse has explored whether virtual addiction support can help increase these numbers, offering healing to those who need it most.
Online recovery meetings are a powerful tool to aid in a person’s healing journey. They can be helpful whether you are brand new to recovery or have been sober for many years.
Some of the benefits of online recovery meetings:
- Can be accessed anytime, anywhere 24/7
- Broadens your recovery circle
- Keeps addiction recovery fresh with access to so many meetings
- Easy to fit into a busy day
- Completely anonymous - You don't have to give your real name if you would prefer not to
- Helps maintain recovery
- All-inclusive, if you suffer from social anxiety or have a disability that limits your travel
1. Easily accessible
Online recovery communities are an incredible tool because they’re so easily accessible. All that’s required to attend a recovery meeting online is a stable internet connection. Because of this, most people can access a meeting from anywhere at any time. This is great for those who don’t have reliable transportation or live in a rural area. This is also particularly useful if someone finds themself faced with a trigger or struggling with a craving. They can easily jump on their laptop or take their phone out of their pocket, and join a meeting almost immediately. This ability can do wonders for those in any stage of recovery.
2. Decreases isolation
One of the main reasons why groups and meetings are so beneficial for the recovery journey is because they foster connection with others. Addiction is an incredibly isolating disease, and the road to recovery can be deeply lonely. Many in recovery will face obstacles and challenges, struggle with maintaining sobriety, or deal with feelings of self-judgment. Attending recovery meetings online can broaden your recovery circle. This can be life-changing for someone who feels that no one understands what they’re going through. By attending meetings, you will feel less alone in your struggles. You may perhaps find that your challenges aren’t as unique as you thought. Finding that many other people resonate with what you’re going through. You will feel better understood, validated, and less alone. These are all vital components to a long-lasting and healthy recovery.
3. Keeps addiction recovery at the forefront of one’s mind
With so many recovery meetings available online, recovery can stay fresh in your mind. As recovery progresses, it can be easy to forget what things used to be like in active addiction. It can be easy to feel a sense of stagnancy or boredom. Even going to the same meeting and seeing the same people might bring with it a sense of monotony. This is why the ability to access meetings online is so powerful – there are always so many different meetings taking place and so many options to choose from. This can help you to remain actively engaged in your recovery.
In conjunction with being easily accessible, online recovery meetings are also incredibly convenient. While some people in recovery may find they have more time on their hands, others may feel like their days fly by. When living with a busy schedule, it can be hard to prioritise going to an in-person meeting. However, recovery takes conscious effort, and part of that means creating time to focus on recovery itself. The convenience of online meetings allows even the busiest of people to squeeze a meeting into their day or their week. With travel times cut and meetings available at all hours of the day, they are incredibly convenient to fit into even a jam-packed schedule.
Another great advantage of online meetings is that they allow for complete anonymity. In many online meeting rooms, a member doesn’t have to provide their real name if they don't want to. For meetings that use webcams, some allow members to turn off their cameras if they don’t feel comfortable revealing their identity. Many in recovery continue to struggle with perceived social stigmas. They harbour feelings of shame in active addiction that they may carry into the early stages of recovery. Online recovery meetings can help facilitate the discretion these people hope for, while still also allowing them to remain active in their recovery.
6. Offers a safety net for maintaining recovery
Online recovery meetings can be a great way to supplement in-person group sessions or in-person therapy or counselling. If someone finds themself struggling with difficult emotions, feelings of isolation, or cravings to use in between their in-person sessions, they can jump into an online meeting and find reprieve. Online meetings are a great way to tide people in recovery over until they meet with their therapist, counsellor, or group in-person.
The inclusivity of online recovery meetings makes them a great option for anyone in recovery to attend. For those who have never been to a meeting or attended treatment, attending an online meeting can be a great first step to take. Some people may feel shyer or may struggle with social anxiety. For them, online meetings offer a great way to engage in recovery without the additional stress of being with new people in person. For those who are more introverted, online recovery communities offer a way to attend meetings without feeling drained by the energy of others. Online meetings truly allow anyone to engage in recovery and in the healing process.
The unique benefits of online recovery communities for women
Research shows that women face unique barriers to treatment when it comes to attending in-person recovery meetings. Therefore, it’s important to address these barriers as well as the benefits that online meetings provide for women who may be struggling.
Some of the barriers women face in attending face-to-face recovery meetings include:
- Fear of sexual harassment. Studies have shown that a majority of women who struggle with substance use may also have a history of trauma involving sexual and/or physical abuse. This can cause them to feel uncomfortable attending a mixed-gender meeting.
- Feelings of guilt and shame. Research shows that, compared with men, women tend to feel more guilt and shame about their substance use. This can be due to societal expectations and norms based on gender. These feelings can deter women from seeking in-person meetings.
- Fear of losing children. Research shows that some women fear losing their children if they admit to having a substance use disorder, or if they coordinate childcare in an effort to attend meetings.
- Additional barriers include transportation issues, denial, co-occurring disorders, and limited health insurance.
Ongoing research continues to explore the effectiveness of online communities in alleviating these barriers for women. Many of these barriers can be directly overcome by using online resources rather than in-person meetings
Below are some of the benefits of online recovery meetings for women:
- Women-only meetings allow women to avoid the fear of harassment while talking about topics they may not feel as comfortable speaking about around men
- The ability to turn off their camera or provide a different name allows women to have anonymity if they’re struggling with shame or fear of stigma
- Women can join online meetings in completely random locations and not have to worry about being recognised
- Women who are pregnant or have children can attend meetings online without the fear of being reported
It is evident that online meetings certainly provide many additional benefits for anyone who simply wants to engage in recovery and maintain their sobriety.
Why are online recovery communities so powerful?
Online recovery communities aren’t only great because of the availability of meetings. These communities provide a wealth of resources and information for those in any stage of recovery. Online recovery communities have grown tremendously, where people globally can now come together to support one another in recovery from addiction.
Depending on the source, people can access forums and build a healthy recovery community there. They can also access recovery tools to help them continuously grow and heal, outside of meetings.
Online recovery groups lower the threshold for accessing treatment. They help decrease feelings of perceived stigma, foster a means of anonymity, and allow accessible and convenient access to treatment for anyone with an internet connection.
Here at Recoverlution, we offer a community of people who are all on their own unique journeys of recovery from addiction. Recoverlution is an online recovery community that offers knowledge as well as personal experiences. Our platform provides recovery tools, meetings, and on-demand Wellness classes such as yoga. Here, our focus is providing everyone with a safe place to explore their healing and actively engage in recovery, whether solo or alongside others in the same place.
Author - Thurga
- In the rooms: 11 benefits of seeking online support in recovery - https://drugabuse.com/blog/benefits-of-online-support-in-recovery/
- Online recovery support meetings can help mitigate the public health consequences of COVID-19 for individuals with substance use disorder - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7493730/
- Potential Benefits of Online Recovery Services for Women During and After COVID-19 - https://www.jsad.com/doi/10.15288/jsad.2021.82.808
- Digital mental health for alcohol and substance use disorders - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40501-019-00190-y