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Online Recovery Survey Published

More Women Than Men Use the Internet for Recovery

By

Updated June 06, 2003

People from every geographic area and all age groups use the Internet to recover from the effects of alcoholism in their lives or in their families, but online recovery services users are twice as likely to be female, according to a recently published survey.

The first large scale, cross-program survey of online recovery services users was conducted by the nonprofit organization Online Recovery Anonymous, Inc. (ORA). Published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the survey was conducted over a 10-week period in 2002. Results of the survey challenge the geographically-bound definition of 'community' and traditional thinking limiting 'recovery' to face-to-face peer support groups.

Surveys returned by more than 1000 current online recovery services users provide a description of the diverse online recovery community:

  • They represent every state in the country.
  • State-by-state use of online recovery services is proportionate to the states' population ranking, as determined by the US Census Bureau.
  • Every age group from teen to senior citizen is using some type of online recovery service.
  • Every ethnic and racial group in America uses online recovery services.
  • Approximately twice as many women as men use online recovery services.
  • Online recovery services are used by addicts, alcoholics and abusers, and by those who are affected by the addiction or alcoholism of another.
  • Online recovery services are used by individuals in all phases of recovery - prevention, outreach and relapse prevention.
  • Online recovery includes both spiritual programs (such as 12-step programs) as well as secular programs (such as Rational Recovery).
Dr. Meg Hall, ORA's Director of Research stated, "Online recovery services may be particularly beneficial to those who - for whatever reasons - are simply too intimidated to reach out for help in face-to-face settings. Online recovery services can reach an entire population which has not been able to connect in other venues." Hall speculates that enhanced perceptions of personal anonymity and confidentiality resulting from accessing recovery services through the Internet may explain the popularity of online recovery services.

Part Two - The Importance of Online Services

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