At one point in time, the commonly accepted ideology surrounding alcohol use was that a person only needed to quit drinking if drinking had become a problem. Addressing one’s relationship with alcohol, it was thought, wasn’t necessary unless alcohol was interfering in major ways, like with finances, relationships, the ability to reach goals, etc. In essence, a person had to hit “rock bottom” before they started looking at recovery. At that time, it was also the general consensus that there were only two real ways to quit drinking: attend nightly meetings or check yourself into a rehab facility.
In the past few years, though, society’s views on alcohol use have started to change. No longer is it necessary for alcohol to have devastating effects on your life for you to question your relationship with drinking. You don’t have to identify as an “alcoholic” or even as someone with an addiction to stop drinking. Likewise, finding sober support now exists outside of 12-step meetings and rehab facilities.
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Somewhere along the way, people and communities started to realize that these two ways of addressing alcohol use didn’t work for everyone and that more options needed to be available. Add in a global pandemic, and it’s become more clear than ever that using the resources we have in a time of crisis—the internet and our various devices—to find sober support is crucial to long-term recovery.
Ten years ago, the thought of quitting drinking online was probably laughable, but today, online recovery programs like Tempest are highlighting that doing so isn’t just possible, it’s doable. With the help of a few Tempest Recovery Coaches, we’re breaking down whether or not you can get sober and be active in recovery online and what that looks like.
Can you get sober online?
In short, the answer is yes. Online resources have come a long way, and the Tempest model was and has always been, an online recovery option. Online recovery provides the flexibility that a lot of people find lacking in traditional programs.
“Plugging into an online platform where you can design a program that is unique to you is a powerful tool,” says Tempest Recovery Coach, Shari Hampton. “Online platforms give folks the ability to take complete control over their recovery program and shed the cookie-cutter approach many in-person treatment programs offer.”
Likewise, many online recovery options, Tempest included, are available around the clock, which means recovery support is available at your fingertips, anytime you need it.
Senior Manager of Coaching, Conor Alexander, has been personally affected by online recovery. When asked if it was possible to get sober online, he said “absolutely.”
“I say this with confidence because I did it, and I have literally watched hundreds of people participate in our online program who have reduced or stopped drinking altogether,” Alexander continues.”
It’s important, too, to remember that the actual act of recovery—of living a life without alcohol—exists offline and outside the walls of rehabs and meetings. When we really understand this, it’s easier to see quitting drinking online becomes a possibility. Alexander explains:
“Quitting drinking actually occurs offline, ‘in real life,’ because of choices we make and behaviors that we change, but the education, the accrual of tools, and the community we develop—all of this can take place online to great effect. One of the things the pandemic has taught us is just how much can be done on the internet.”
The Benefits of an Online Recovery Program
As mentioned above, one of the benefits of online recovery is the 24/7 access to support and the flexibility of a tailored program, but there are many more.
“You don’t have to get across town to make a meeting, you don’t have to leave your life and check yourself in somewhere,” Alexander says.
A Holistic Approach
“[Online recovery] is an individualized, holistic approach that guides members through their emotional journey, and helps to address the reasons behind their alcohol use,” says Recovery Coach and Group Facilitator, Lynne M. Macaluso, MEd, CASAC, CARC. “This program encourages us to move beyond sobriety toward meaningful, sustainable change.”
Support in a Way that Works Best for You
“Often people who struggle with substance use have co-occurring issues such as depression and anxiety,” explains Macaluso. “It can be extremely helpful for them to access support from the privacy and comfort of their own home. Now more than ever, people are feeling isolated and alone which is extremely detrimental to recovery. Virtual coaching, workshops, content, and group support are vital to staying connected.”
“You are more likely to find a community that you connect with,” says Alexander. “People from all over the world participate in these spaces, and I have made friendships with people who approach recovery in the same way that I do all over Europe, in Australia and Japan, and I was in New York the whole time that these friendships developed.”
How the Tempest Online Treatment Program Works
Though there are several online options when it comes to quitting drinking online, not all of them are the same. Here at Tempest, we have a very specific approach and philosophy, and we believe that your recovery should be in your hands.
“What I have found about the philosophy here at Tempest that sets it apart from other programs is how individualized and completely non-judgmental it is,” says Macaluso.
And just like in 12-step meetings, says Hampton, you can join Tempest and receive the same anonymity you would in those meetings, but there’s more to what makes Tempest a viable option for recovery.
“A huge differential between Tempest and other programs is our holistic approach to healing. We focus on the emotional, physical, social, and environmental aspects of sobriety.”
Alexander breaks down the intricacies of the Tempest program and all of its offerings:
“There are three major facets of the Tempest offering. First, we have hundreds of hours of content and release more each week. When you join you get access to our vast library which covers an incredible range of topics we encounter in sobriety, from how to develop sober friendships to how to reckon with our finances, from how to build resilience in our daily lives to how we deal with loss and grief. And each of these modules comes with a workbook so that you can make it directly applicable to your life.
Second, we offer several group processing calls a day, including identity-based groups. Community and connection play an important role in recovery, and our calls are a place where you can hear from other people and share your own experience. I have heard over and over again that these calls are the glue for many people’s recovery. We have large and small groups that are open to everybody, and we offer spaces specifically for people who are members of the LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, 50+, and parent communities. Additionally, we have a group for people who are in longer-term sobriety, study groups for people to work on some of the curricula together, and a Maker’s Circle where creatives can get together while they work on their art.
The third facet is 1:1 Accountability Coaching. This is an opportunity for people to work with someone trained in the Tempest method and really get down to brass tacks regarding their recovery. We recognize that people come to Tempest in all stages of addiction and recovery, with different reasons for wanting to interrogate their relationship to alcohol. Our coaches are skilled at asking powerful questions to identify your reasons for reducing or eliminating alcohol from your life, and, importantly, creating a lifestyle where drinking isn’t desirable.”
And for those who aren’t sure recovery is the right option but are interested in learning about what a break from alcohol might do, Tempest has a free app full of resources to help you explore your relationship with alcohol. The app is called “Rethink with Tempest” and is available on all devices.
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So no matter where you are in your relationship with alcohol, finding support is literally a click away these days. You don’t have to make the trek to an in-person meeting or abandon your life to check yourself into a rehab center. Today, you can simply pick up your phone, tablet, or computer and log in to a community that is ready to help.