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Accessing Online Support Groups During the Coronavirus Shutdown

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

by Kayla Zawislak

The recent events around the coronavirus has meant cancelling mutual aid support group meetings and even many treatment locations for the coming weeks.  For those in treatment or recovery who rely on these services, this poses many challenges. Changes in your support system and routine can create anxiety, tension, uncertainty, and fear.  It’s essential that you know that you are not alone and there is support out there for you. There are a variety of resources that you can access from your phone or computer to tap into this support.

For individuals in recovery, it is imperative to maintain their support, meetings, and recovery schedule.  One way to help you in your recovery is to attend online support groups. Support groups may offer online meetings through Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or their own web provider.  These meetings have a similar format to the in-person meeting. There is an opening, topic discussion or speaker, and then there is time to share. Due to recent events, support groups are increasing the number of meetings that they offer to assist individuals who are at home and are unable to access an in-person meeting.

To find the meeting that you would like to attend check out the links below.  Follow this simple process to accessing your first meeting.

  1. Decide what type of support group that you would like to attend. Visit the website that is listed below that is correlated with your prospective support group.

  2. Find a time that you would like to attend a meeting(s).

  3. Familiarize yourself with the process of accessing the meeting.  You may have to set up an account in order to access the meeting, so make sure that you plan accordingly.

  4. Remember that just because you are unable to meet with someone in person or go to any gathers, you are not alone.  Feeling isolated and alone can lead people to feeling vulnerable and on edge. Reach out to people in your support network by phone, Google Hangouts, Facetime, or Skype.  Whether you are chatting with some family, a friend, someone from the program, or your sponsor, it can help you feel more connected. This can be something to help you amp up your recovery, keep working your program, and stay connected.

Support Groups for individuals struggling with substances

Narcotics Anonymous- NA is a fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem.

SMART Recovery- an abstinence-based organization with a sensible self-help program for people having problems with drinking and using.

AA- Alcoholics Anonymous- a 12-step based program that focuses on alcohol addiction, but many people who have struggled with other substances attend this program as well.

Recovery Dharma- peer-led organization that support individuals on their path of recovery from addiction using Buddhist practices and principles

Women for Sobriety- Organization dedicated to helping women discover recovery from Substance Use Disorders

Online meetings:

Life Ring- Organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support.

Moderation Management-a behavioral change program and national support group network for people concerned about their drinking and who desire to make positive lifestyle changes.

Cocaine Anonymous Online- Fellowship who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from their addiction.

In the Rooms is another website that has a range of online support groups.  Some of the support groups they have are Narcotics Anonymous, Dual Diagnosis, Marijuana Anonymous, Codependency Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and many more.

Support Groups for Loved Ones

Nar-Anon - a worldwide fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction.

Forum you can talk to other individuals who are involved with Nar-Anon:

Al-Anon- 12-step based and focus on loved ones who have alcohol use disorder.  However, many times these individuals have loved one who struggle with other substances than alcohol.

FAMILIES ANONYMOUS is a 12 Step fellowship for the families and friends who have a loved one who struggles with drugs, alcohol, or related behavioral problems.

SMART Recovery Friends and Family- SMART Recovery Family & Friends is a science-based, secular alternative to Al-Anon and Johnson Intervention.


Kayla Zawislak is a Counselor at the Addiction Policy Forum, where she answers phone calls, emails, and text messages from professionals, loved ones, and individuals who are struggling with a substance use disorder. Kayla obtained her Associate’s Degree in Addiction’s Counseling and her CADC, Certification in Drug and Alcohol Counseling, in 2017. In 2018 she graduated from National Louis University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. She is currently enrolled at Aurora University to pursue her Master's Degree in Social Work.


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