I can still remember the horrible dissonance that accompanied logging onto the internet with a 9600 baud modem over a phone line in the 1980's. I can also remember the amazement of finding another universe at my fingertips. That was in the late 20th century and we are now in the second decade of the 21st century. Virtual activity is growing throughout our daily lives. We can realize benefit from virtual experience.
My experience with LifeRing Secular Recovery began online. I discovered LifeRing online after flinching at the dominant sobriety support group. I explored the various online resources of LifeRing and found different areas that were beneficial. There were many unique online resources that were each valuable. There were email lists, forums, social networks, and chat rooms. Each resource has its own subscribers and advocates. I don't completely understand all of the different resources, but I most definitely appreciate their value for the subscribers. I also found local face to face meetings online that I could attend.
While many will say that nothing can replace face to face meetings, I think that online resources can be just as valid. They're not better, just valid. There are obvious benefits to both face to face and online support resources. In face to face meetings there is much non-verbal communication that can be missed in an online resource. Online resources can also benefit from the lack of non-verbal communication. From both an enforcement and attendee perspective, online resources can be much more secure.
We have members of LifeRing in leadership positions that have used online resources exclusively, and have maintained extraordinary levels and longevity of sobriety. Online resources are essential to the recovery of many, especially in remote areas or areas that do not offer face to face alternatives. Early in recovery, when immersing yourself in support may be most important, online resources shine. Being able to talk to someone 24-7 about sobriety or just discuss the weather with a sober person is hugely beneficial.
Face to face meetings are also hugely beneficial and I do not want to suggest that they should ever be replaced with virtual meetings. The truth is that there is benefit from all forms of support and none should be discounted if they are helpful in any way.
The next time you are too tired (or lazy in my case) to make it to a face to face support meeting, try something virtual. The value is real.