HOUSTON — Could social media help alcoholics quit drinking? Research from Recovery.org claims one community on Reddit is helping 50,000 people worldwide fight their addiction.
"For some folks this is a great way to make them feel comfortable about getting involved with sobriety, taking that first step, making an effort to find out more about it,” John Robson, Fort Bend Regional Council on Substance Abuse Chief Operating Officer, said.
The sub-reddit "Stop Drinking" is loosely similar to traditional recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Reddit usernames are anonymous and subscribers with more days of sobriety often offer up their own experience on dealing with relapse, withdrawal and difficult social situations.
“There is a philosophy in the recovery community that says you can't keep it if you don't give it away. And I think that that may ring true in this venue as well,” Robson said.
An estimated 77 percent of subscribers are still in their first year without alcohol, but together they've racked up almost 8,000 years of sobriety.
"Stop Drinking" does have mobility on its side. People that live in large urban cities like Houston or Dallas have access to AA meetings almost any hour of the day or night.
“In these smaller communities or rural communities you may have to drive 40 miles to the next town where there's a church that has an AA meeting. So in that aspect this may be a very strong support system for people,” Robson said.
One criticism could be that many alcoholics fall victim to isolating themselves, and that physically present communities offer an answer to that.
“This is with other humans, it's just typing,” Robson said.
Experts said the most important thing is to do what works best for you. Staying sober ain't easy, but support and taking it one day at a time has helped millions “trudge the road of happy destiny.”