Practicum 6-Support GroupsPosted: November 15, 2011
Today as I was participating in my alcoholism online support group I came across a post that I havn’t seen before. Throughout the last two months of being a member and reading the forums all of the posts have pertained to having a problem with alcohol or shared experiences and support for dealing with the struggle for sobriety. A new post uploaded today from a member named Bill had a headline titled “Off Topic”. I was intrigued so I decided to read his post and the accompanying comments. Bill had been an active member of the online support group for alcoholism and participated in many discussions involving his problems and offered support to others. Today his post had nothing to do with alcohol and, instead, he told the rest of the online community how he had just received a job offer working in a sales department at a church. There were 10 accompanying comments of congratulations for Bill and questions as to how he secured the position. Not once throughout the entire post/comment did anyone mention alcohol or sobriety.
I realized that for many people these online support groups offer more than just support for a specific topic. Bill had already gained the respect and trust of others and considered others in the group as friends who he wanted to share the good news with. Everyone was supportive and (from what I understood) showed genuine interest in Bill and his accomplishment. The online support group serves as a platform for people to be listened to and friendships can be developed (even if these people have never come into contact with eachother). This was very interesting for me and I also congratulated Bill even though I havn’t spoken with him ever before.