What are the Best Online Sobriety groups?
Author: Thomas Roth
Last Updated: 1/16/2022
Alcoholism is a disease that afflicts an individual who has developed a physical and/or psychological dependence to alcohol due to continued abusive drinking. This addiction can cause harm to the mind in the form of mental illnesses including anxiety and depression as well as chronic diseases of the body such as heart disease and liver failure. The toll alcoholism takes on the addict can be catastrophic not just for them, but for their loved ones as well. Still, there are solutions for alcoholics endeavoring to achieve sobriety and persevere through the many challenges of alcoholism.
In the modern era, online sobriety groups have become convenient, readily available resources for individuals suffering from alcoholism who want to achieve sobriety. While traditional methods such as rehabilitation clinics and Alcohol’s Anonymous are options used globally to great effect, the ever changing world sometimes creates circumstances where in-person therapy is not attainable.
For this reason, online sobriety groups have become an effective alternative method for people who are seeking to overcome their addiction to alcohol. These sometimes mirror the form and style of in-person meetings, with sponsors, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, albeit with the added benefit of virtual communication so as to be easier for the individual fighting their addiction to seek help.
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A support group made for the digital age, Loosid is a sobriety app that when downloaded connects the user to a local, online community of other Loosid users. An application highly rated by top publications such as the New York Times and Forbes, the purpose of Loosid is to engage app users with one another so as to provide a safe space for people getting sober and also to organize alcohol-free events and activities.
Many people who are endeavoring to get sober fear that they will lose the fun of socializing if they can’t drink, but Loosid offers a variety of chat rooms, full of sober people, designed to form sober groups, make friendships, and create a community where people meet in person and enjoy life without the influence of alcohol or other substances. It can be very difficult to stay sober around those who are not themselves fighting against alcoholism, so for Loosid to provide an opportunity to sober individuals to connect is vital in helping those struggling with alcoholism to overcome their past habits in friendly, constructive settings. Loosid curates event and activity options in the user’s area that do not involve alcohol, as well as providing a sober dating platform, where Loosid users can chat and get to know one another while acknowledging their shared sobriety.
The fact that Loosid offers interaction with a community of people who are all working to move past alcoholism, especially through the convenience of a mobile phone app, is a powerful tool and an excellent online sobriety option. Due to the fact that it is a social app, and offers a dating option, Loosid is different from some of the other groups detailed below. It is not exactly a clinical treatment option, and should be seen as more of a tool for those with alcoholism to improve their social lives while continuing to maintain their sobriety.
An option designed to be less for socializing than Loosid, Tempest is an app meant to be downloaded that offers a membership program engineered to provide a holistic approach to sobriety. For a monthly fee, Tempest offers a means by which to achieve recovery that considers all aspects of the identity, background, and life experiences of the user to curate a specialized, individualized, path to sobriety. For those who cannot afford the expense of one on one therapy, Tempest provides similar resources for a greatly reduced rate. Combined with the convenience that comes with a mobile phone application, Tempest is an alcohol treatment program made for people living in the digital age.
Tempest offers over 35 weekly support meetings, live workshops and study groups, practical tips and daily motivation, as well as, for an additional one-time fee plus the membership subscription, four private sessions with a Tempest Recovery Coach. The application absolutely creates a complete online sobriety group ready at hand. Also, Tempest seeks to throw away labels and reconsider alcoholism in a way that sheds what some might see as negative connotations of the past. For people struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder, it’s integral that new and fresh methods are readily available. Tempest offers just such an innovative, online approach to sobriety.
Critics might say that while Tempest does offer positive support, the fact of the matter can be that without in-person meetings, Tempest is an online sobriety platform that can only do so much for certain individuals. Those who have no control over their addiction might only achieve sobriety with more invasive methods.
3. Club Soda
Although certainly not a traditional alcohol prevention platform, Club Soda is a digital app that teaches mindfulness when it comes to Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Started as a Facebook group in the early 2010s, Club Soda has transformed into a digital community that focuses on promoting the benefits of mindful drinking either through moderation or by helping people quit alcohol for good.
By offering a membership service, new users can join the Club Soda community and get in touch with other people who have learned to control their drinking either from abstaining, or just via reconsidering their relationship with alcohol and learning new habits that are far healthier. When alcohol abuse becomes alcoholism, the addict stops controlling alcohol and the alcohol starts to control them. Club Soda, through the benefit that comes from interacting with a huge community of like minded individuals, is designed to help people get in charge of their drinking habits, either by learning to moderate, or by helping them quit entirely.
With real-life stories and solutions, an individual is not alone in their battle with alcohol. Club Soda’s environment is friendly and constructive, even recently having opened a pop-up shop in London that symbolizes the community’s commitment to helping people heal their alcoholism. During the month of January 2022, the Club Soda shop will be selling alcohol-free mocktails and classes on making alcohol free beverages. Club Soda’s intent is to provide users with a fun community that teaches alternative options to socialize without alcohol. While not a treatment center like Tempest, it can be very helpful in enabling certain individuals to get in touch with their sobriety and see the benefits of a life without the damaging effects of alcohol abuse.
However, critics do see Club Soda as a less serious option than other treatment methods, and it should be seen as an option for those who may not have as destructive of a habit as intense alcoholics. Certainly, Club Soda is not the same kind of resource as in-patient rehabilitation, and does not promote itself as an equivalent option.
4. Women For Sobriety
Women for Sobriety began as a non-profit alternative to the twelve step process favored by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization. Established in 1976, hundreds of Women for Sobriety groups have sprouted up across the globe. Due to the fact that the groups focus on the experiences that women have with maintaining sobriety and fighting addiction to alcohol, only women are allowed to attend meetings.
Created by sociologist Jean Kirkpatrick, the program centers around thirteen affirmations that are meant to help members perceive the world differently and improve their ability to see themselves as competent women who are not under the control of alcohol. Although WFS meetings are for women only, they are not anti-men, or radically feminist, but rather, because Kirkpatrick saw her alcoholism as being tied to feelings of low-self worth based on her gender, she felt it necessary to create an option solely for women who might be contending with similar feelings.
WFS promotes meditation and mindfulness practices, with in-person meetings being run by a moderator. These meetings operate in the same general manner, with affirmations being recited in the beginning, followed by members sharing weekly events and discussing their struggles with alcoholism.
Women for Sobriety groups are open to women who are hoping to overcome alcoholism, with group size ranging from two to twenty individuals. There are critics of the positive affirmations method, at the heart of the process, as some people see positive affirmations as a distraction, or even a disregard, for such mental illnesses as depression. Critics see positive affirmations as a denial of one’s real emotions which can actually inhibit true recovery by not reaching the real issues that caused the addiction to alcohol in the first place. That being said, Women for Sobriety groups have helped women in many walks of life achieve sobriety. They create a safe place for women to meet every week and share their experiences, helping one another overcome the challenges of their lives, which is key to defeating alcoholism.
5. Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART)
Taking a more scientific approach to sobriety than some of the other organizations listed above, SMART centers its program around educating group members about mental health with a focus on conquering all substance addiction, not just alcoholism. Placing an emphasis on a scientific understanding of addiction, SMART utilizes a kind of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. By building motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts and emotions, SMART seeks to help its members lead a more balanced life without the imbalances that alcohol abuse can bring upon an individual.
By understanding how an individual’s thoughts affects their emotions, and thus their behavioral response, which in the case of addicts tends to be substance abuse, SMART seeks to teach new, positive habits that, with the right amount of effort, have a positive outcome.
While other sobriety groups can implement a spiritual, or religious quality to sobriety, SMART welcomes individuals of all faiths to join in the group’s process. Some critics might see the lack of a spiritual component as a weakness in the program, as sobriety is oftentimes improved by joining a spiritual or religious community, but in the case of SMART, the science of behavioral therapy is at the forefront of the organization’s methods. Joining a meeting can be as easy as seeking out where SMART recovery groups are available, or, and more important in the case of online sobriety meetings, via a live-chat or live text meeting hotline.
6. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
One of the largest and most influential global sobriety networks is Alcoholics Anonymous. The group requires no membership dues or fees of any kind, and is a peer-leadership based organization, seeing those who battle with addiction work with one another to achieve sobriety together. Meetings are held daily, and sponsors with lots of experience in sobriety help individuals new to the challenges that come with defeating alcoholism. With a deeply spiritual component, via the 12 steps method, AA is non-secular, but does promote the concept of twelve traditions, with the only shared creed being the desire for everyone committed to the program to quit drinking alcohol for good. These traditions are akin to commandments, as an example, which is why some consider AA to be a spiritual organization.
By firstly admitting powerlessness over alcohol, AA members continue down the 12-step path to achieve sobriety. As a self-improvement program, strict adhesion to the path is the way people restore resilience in themselves and help to see that they no longer need, or can handle, alcohol in their lives. The creator of Alcoholics Anonymous saw the process as a means by which to inspire a spiritual awakening in an addict so that they would denounce alcohol.
Due to how well known AA is globally, there has been extensive study regarding the efficacy of the program and how effective it is in helping people cure their addiction to alcohol. Abstinence from drinking alcohol is the one way to determine the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, as is measuring how individuals reduce drinking intensity, and/or tracking healthcare costs (individuals that overcome their addiction to alcohol tend to have reduced healthcare costs). In 2016, the Surgeon General of the United States was quoted as saying there is scientific evidence providing the effectiveness of the 12-step process, and due to the fact that millions of Americans claim Alcoholics Anonymous has worked for them.
Alcoholics Anonymous can be reached through a website, where someone can find a meeting near them based on zip code, but their book Alcoholics Anonymous, outlining the 12-step method, can also be found on their website to be read digitally at no charge. The twelve steps have been adopted by other addiction organizations as well, with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous, including Gambler’s Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. This might serve as an indication that the methods Alcoholics Anonymous employs are powerful in a positive way.
Critics of AA point to the spiritual aspect of the organization as not being entirely inclusive, as the 12 step method does involve a God figure, although that God is non-secular. The methods were also developed in part borrowing from the basic guidelines of Christianity, which some people feel excludes followers of other religions. Additionally, many attendees of AA meetings have felt that there is also a pursuit of sexual company in some individuals, with some even highlighting long-time AA members seeking out dates with new members. Of course this is not true of every single AA member, and should be only taken as a footnote, rather than a complete evaluation of the entire organization and its efficacy.
How to Attend Online Sobriety Groups?
Online Sobriety Groups are very easy to attend. All that’s required is an internet connection and either a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Most of the groups listed above have free options, or, in the case of Tempest, require a membership fee to access all of their resources. Alcoholics Anonymous and Women For Sobriety have websites with free resources that also help individuals reach out to in-person groups for meetings. It is important to know that the online groups listed above have different intentions for support behind them, but researching more and trying out the different applications is a great way to help one find out exactly what is the best tool for them. It is integral to know that on the path to achieving sobriety patience is key. Finding the right online sobriety group will take time, but the effort is well worth it for the long-term benefits.
Are There Any Apps To Attend Online Sobriety Groups?
AA and SMART both offer online alternatives to in-person meetings that can be found via their websites. Apps like Loosid, Club Soda, and Tempest both provide fully digital options for those who do not feel comfortable or are not able to meet in person. The best sober apps may not be as beneficial as in-person meetings, but each individual is different so it is important to ask oneself exactly what they need from a sobriety group. It is also important to bear in mind that one person’s desires to control their alcohol disorder might differ from another’s, especially if the severity differs.
How Often Are Online Sobriety Groups Held?
Online Sobriety Groups are held every day at almost every hour, depending upon what organization a person is looking to interact with. For apps like Tempest and Loosid, resources are available 24/7, and that is the benefit of finding a sobriety group online.
How Effective Are Sobriety Support Groups?
Sobriety Support Groups prove to be effective for millions of people around the world. The battle with alcoholism is very difficult to fight alone, and both medical and spiritual resources exist for a reason: they help people. Sobriety support groups are one of the most important, and effective, resources available to people battling addiction. That being said, sobriety support groups are only as effective as a person makes them. Sobriety can only be achieved by someone who is fully committed to conquering their addiction. Relapses happen, and no one is perfect, but without the commitment of the individual, no sobriety support group can simply fix addiction.
What Are the Scientific Facts Behind Sobriety Groups?
Based upon the Cochrane Review, and a comprehensive analysis carried out by the Stanford School of Medicine, researchers found that AA is a very effective sobriety group with a good track-record of group members attaining and maintaining sobriety. The efficacy of AA was compared and contrasted with traditional psychotherapy, with researchers finding AA to be more effective because of the social interaction aspect. In AA, members share stories, and there is a sense of community, which researchers believe has a positive correlation to maintaining sobriety. As far as achieving abstinence is concerned, AA scored far better as far as success rate is concerned. Considering the added costs of traditional psychotherapy, it is also a far more inexpensive option. Researchers found also that the success rate of AA was high across various demographics of members, one can safely deduce that sobriety groups like AA can be very effective, based on scientific evaluation.
What Are Other Treatment Methods of Alcoholism Similar To Sobriety Groups?
Sobriety groups are effective because they make use of the natural desire of human beings to feel a sense of community by creating a group setting in which people can share their experiences as they pertain to alcohol abuse. Communication about addiction is key to treating alcoholism for many people, so finding a treatment method that incorporates that sense of community is very important. Being able to talk about one’s experience as it pertains to alcohol use helps to develop solutions for alcoholism, which is why one-on-one therapy can be a helpful alternative to sobriety groups. This does not have to take the form of traditional, western psychotherapy either, as there are many alternatives to therapy that make use of meditation, mindfulness, and even hypnosis, all of which can be beneficial to achieving sobriety. Overall, there are many alcoholism treatment methods.
What Are The Alternatives To Alcoholics Anonymous?
SMART is a very effective alternative to AA that avoids the spiritual component which AA is so focused on. Not only that, psychotherapy and even eastern therapy practices do not borrow from AA at all, and yet have proven to be effective alternatives. What’s most essential is to understand that everyone’s battle with alcoholism is different, and so no one method is foolproof for all.