The sustainability of non-12-step alcohol online support groups: views from group users


  • Sally Sanger University of Sheffield
  • Peter A. Bath University of Sheffield
  • Jo Bates University of Sheffield



Online support groups for people with health issues are important digital sources of information for their users, and this includes alcohol online support groups (AOSGs) which provide help to problem drinkers. It is vital that these groups are sustainable as otherwise their usefulness and contribution to patient self-care and wellbeing is limited. The aim of the study drawn upon in this paper was to explore the impact of AOSGs’ discussion forums on users’ beliefs about problem drinking.  The study involved semi-structured interviews with twenty-five users of online support groups for people who do not follow the 12-step programme for recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous. This paper focuses on users’ perspectives on sustainability, and the findings suggest that the general approach of the group to recovery and its social dynamics are especially important. It provides a useful contribution to the literature in offering a rare insight into the voices of users of non-12-step groups.


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