While frequenting the alcoholism support group I found many different patterns of use among many of the participants. Many of the participants have been members of the support group for years. Even after some have achieved sobriety they still actively (daily, weekly) participate in the blog posts and share past experiences and offer advice and consoling. I have been an active member for about a month and have come across members who’s accounts have been inactive and who just recently rejoined the conversation. One member came back looking for help because she thought she took control of her drinking problem and no longer found it necessary to participate in the discussion. She mentioned that because she no longer thought her problem effected her that she no longer wanted to associate with the support group because it showed a sign of weakness and reminded her of her past. Other people commented on her re-introduction post reminding her that the struggle with alcoholism is an ongoing process that needs constant reinforcement.
I found these differing patterns of usage very interesting. Some of the members of the support group beleive that joining a support group is a quick fix that leads to a lifetime of sobriety. Many join and occasionaly share stories/seek out help as a means of redeeming themselves, even though they are not truly taking others’ advice and experiences seriously. The more serious members who constantly post and share advice I beleive truly benefit from this online support group community which makes me believe that dedication to the support has positive effects in the long run.