People in recovery rely on the personal support of peers for ongoing reinforcement, and according to research by Recovery Brands, 87.2 percent of them find such groups helpful. This week, the organization’s Recovery.org site launched Voices of Hope, an online support community.
According to the new research, 68.3 percent of the 515 respondents to Recovery Brand’s online survey said they had attended a group meeting within the last 30 days, and of this group, the average attendance was 6.1 meetings per month. About one-fourth of those attending said they sponsor others in recovery, and 10 percent are meeting leaders, according to Ruchi Sanghani, director of research at Recovery Brands.
“People really value that social connection and relationship,” she tells Behavioral Healthcare. “People who are struggling with addiction don’t necessarily do it alone. They confide in others. That speaks volumes about how the recovery process is a community effort.”
In the new Voices of Hope portal, individuals can write personal stories about their experiences and read accounts of others. According to Recovery Brands, the goal is to secure close to 500 stories in the first year. An online message board provides a forum for an exchange of advice among peers.
For example, one site visitor asked others for suggestions on how to handle an upcoming corporate event that involves alcohol. Another asked for advice on smoking cessation.
In the future, Recovery Brands is interested in studying the language used by those who offer support to others on the site, as well as how those seeking treatment and in recovery interact with technology, Sanghani says.
She says 67 percent of the recent survey respondents said they would turn first to a member of their support group when they need immediate help.
“If industry as a whole keeps these findings in mind and facilitates these connections, I believe we’ll able to provide more value as an industry,” she says.
To maintain anonymity, individuals who choose to share stories via Voices of Hope have the option to use an avatar image instead of a photo and are also prompted to provide only a first name. Users may also use alias names if they choose.