Go to any search engine and type in your query and you’ll get almost instantaneous results. There might be millions of results to sort through, but for most topics, you can find some hint at your answer within the first page. You can find maps, places to shop, bios on famous people…maybe even search your own name (I admit I’ve done it). There’s a new trend emerging online that most people have probably never thought of – online help for addicts and alcoholics.
People go online for social networking, employment searches, dating: ways to connect themselves to the world from the privacy of their own home. Whether it’s because it’s faster, easier, more accessible or just more comfortable, most people go online multiple times a day for any number of tasks. If you can find a job online, why not an AA meeting?
A lot of people who are struggling with drugs or alcohol may not be ready to face a room full of strangers and confess their secrets. Now you have access to a meeting where you can choose to simply listen without turning on your webcam. You can use a first name only or make up a name. You can choose to put up a picture or remain anonymous – pun intended. If you feel comfortable, you can turn on your camera and share you story. You may be talking to people in your neighborhood or on the other side of the world.
There’s a line in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous that says “We are people who would normally not mix”. The idea being that people from all walks of life, from every socioeconomic class, every race, religion, etc are affected by alcoholism. You take someone who you think you have nothing in common with and say “My name is ____ and I’m an alcoholic” and when they say they are an alcoholic also, you suddenly can talk endlessly. There’s a sense of camaraderie there. If you can chat with people all over the world who share this common thread, the possibilities of a connection grow exponentially.
There are mixed feelings in the AA community about online meetings. Some feel it’s a great way to get people to a meeting if they can’t or won’t go to a traditional meeting. Others feel it goes against the principles of AA, that people should meet in church basements or treatment facilities. In-person meetings give you a sense of fellowship and allow for human contact such as a hug or handshake. Online meetings allow you to chat with people from wherever you are. In-person meetings allow you to read someone’s body language and offer a helping hand to someone who may be grieving and not speaking it in words. Online meetings give people a chance to attend a meeting when they may not have a car or license or babysitter. They both have pros and cons. The idea is that it gives people options and they can choose what works best for them. When online dating started it was almost risqué or embarrassing. Now it’s commonplace. Someday online AA meetings may be the same way.
If you’re new to sobriety, thinking about rehab, a seasoned veteran to the AA scene or just curious about options to connect to other people in sobriety, an online AA meeting gives you the chance to reach out to others who understand your situation. Sometimes hearing a few words of encouragement is all a person needs to take the next step.
About the Author:
Stephanie wants you to check out MyRecovery.com … They have online aa/na meetings and other recovery tools as well.