A growing number of family members of people struggling with addiction are finding help through online support groups, The Wall Street Journal reports.
These groups offer flexibility and real-time help, participants say.
Many parents say they look for support online because they are ashamed to discuss the problem with family or friends.
The groups include small and informal groups, as well as large groups such as The Addict’s Mom, which has more than 70,000 members on Facebook.
Some groups, such as Shatterproof, advocate for legislation to combat addiction.
One group of six women with addicted children calls themselves Soul Sisters. They met online, and have been communicating largely through text messages for the past five years. The women have talked about signs of relapse, their children’s prison sentences and rehab centers. They have never met in person, but hope to this year.
One member, Margaret Worthen of Raleigh, North Carolina, has a son in treatment after years of heroin addiction. “For probably 10 years I had no one to talk to about it. I had my head down like a guilty parent,” she told the newspaper. After she joined Soul Sisters, “All of a sudden I had other women, other good moms all going through the same thing.” She tried Nar-Anon meetings, but says she found them too regimented. “For me it didn’t work. I’m a talker, and it was too structured,” she said.
Participants from rural regions find online support groups particularly helpful. Addiction is hitting rural areas hard, but they often lack in-person support groups, the article notes.
The online groups can be accessed at any hour, and can be tailored for specific needs, such as grandparents raising grandchildren after the death of an addicted parent.