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How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Online Work?

By Tiffany Manley
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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Alcoholics Anonymous, or Al-Anon, is a form of support for individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction. Meetings are held at various locations, or Alcoholics Anonymous online is an option that allows individuals to attend classes from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Users might make use of chat rooms or online conference software. An Alcoholics Anonymous online class sometimes works the same as a traditional Al-Anon meeting, starting with introductions, discussion time, closing and awarding members for their level of sobriety. Other Alcoholics Anonymous online meetings are simply chat rooms for members to discuss any trials that they have been having and to gain support while chatting.

If an Alcoholics Anonymous online meeting is held in a chat room, attendees generally guide the meeting by talking via the chat function. Many conversations usually take place at the same time in a chat room, so an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that takes place this way usually has little structure. The advantage to a meeting like this is that users might feel less self-conscious, and they usually can get assistance and have a listening ear whenever they need it. For someone who is still in the early stages of trying to remain sober, however, this option might be too unstructured.

Alcoholics Anonymous online classes that meet using online conference software might have structure similar to that of in-person meetings. Some online classes have extensive regulations for things such as requests to speak and honoring each person’s time to talk. Other classes have a few regulations for participants to follow, creating a more informal atmosphere. Either way, participants in these classes might receive more personalized and accurate information.

One thing that an Alcoholics Anonymous online meeting attendee might want to keep in mind is that just because the meeting is online instead of face-to-face, it does not mean that he or she is completely anonymous. Not meeting in a public space affords a certain level of anonymity, but the Internet does not guarantee total anonymity. Users should remember to use the same precautions that they would use with any other Internet interactions.

In addition to learning how to interact in an online Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, users should familiarize themselves with the jargon used in online chat rooms. Various words have been shortened into acronyms to allow for easier typing and to save space. Learning these acronyms before attending an online meeting might help an individual take more from a meeting than he or she might have otherwise. Lists of these acronyms usually can be found online.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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