Traditional Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings have helped millions of people over the past eight decades. With a network that spans the world, AA is almost always the first alcohol recovery program people think of. And, for many, AA is a wonderful resource that offers a strong community of peer support as well as a step-by-step program that can help you get and stay sober.
But AA isn’t for everyone. And if you’ve felt weird about not finding a fit in 12-Step recovery, or want to supplement your existing recovery program with another community, please understand you’re not alone.
For some, venturing into the male-dominated rooms of AA can feel uncomfortable (as it did for me as a bisexual Latina). For these folks, online communities and supportive sobriety groups beyond AA can be a welcome addition to your recovery journey. It’s not that traditional 12-Step groups aren’t welcoming, but that sometimes you need a group you can relate to in order to support your sobriety—a safe space where you can actually feel like yourself.
In order to find a support group that works for you and start building your sober network, we’ve compiled a list of the top online sober communities and groups. These go beyond the groups you already know and can help you find what you need to get and stay sober.
SMART Recovery is a sober community that focuses on helping individuals through group meetings. Their philosophy is largely focused on using cognitive behavioral therapy to change bad habits surrounding alcohol use disorder, eating disorders, sex addictions, and more.
The program has in-person meetings in the US and Canada and other locations across the world. They also have online meetings for those that don’t want to or can’t attend regular meetings.
Plus, their website offers resources including a suggested reading list, blog posts, and other articles and essays. The best part of the program is that they help you to empower yourself to overcome your addictions, which, for some, is a welcome change from traditional 12-Step programs.
One of the reasons that some of us don’t really enjoy traditional 12-Step meetings is because of the repeated use of the word “God.” If that resonates with you, you might find LifeRing’s secular recovery helpful.
LifeRing is “an abstinence-based, worldwide network” of people who want to live without drugs or alcohol. It’s a self-directed group (meaning members help to lead meetings and direct the theme of the discussions) with sober and secular people that has in-person meetings, online chat rooms for support, and other resources for those who want to develop, refine, and share their personal strategies for abstinence.
3. Bridge Club
If you’re looking for an in-person meeting that is specifically focused on trans, cis women, and non-binary folks who are sober or interested in sobriety, then Bridge Club is for you. Organized by Tempest, this is a community-led peer support group that seeks to empower individuals who are seeking connections and looking to find meaningful relationships that support their sober lifestyle. A monthly meet-up includes a change to get to know others who are seeking to become who they were always meant to be.
Disclosure: Tempest is the parent company of The Temper.
If you’re looking for a recovery program that is based on Buddhism, then you have come to the right place with Refuge Recovery. This recovery program is a practice, a process, a set of tools, a treatment, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering that is caused by addiction.
The inspiration for the guiding philosophy of this program lies in the teachings of the Buddha and includes an approach to treatment and recovery that uses the traditional Buddhist practices of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
5. The Phoenix
For those who want to pair a physical style of recovery with a free sober active community will find inspiration in the more than 26,000 people across the U.S. who are part of The Phoenix. This recovery path features physical exercise, from CrossFit to climbing to hiking and running to yoga and cycling, and so much more.
This program focuses on fostering human connection through mental, physical, and spiritual fitness as a way to rebuild the wounded bodies and spirits following substance abuse. Their mantra? Together, we are stronger.
As an alternative to AA comes the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), a nonprofit network of autonomous, non-professional local groups whose sole focus is to help people achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol and drug addiction.
If you’ve never participated on Reddit, then you might not know just how close-knit and supportive the people you meet online its thousands of “subreddits” can be.
With more than 150,000 subscribers, the r/stopdrinking subreddit does exactly what it says in the name: helps its members to stop drinking. (According to their tagline, they’re “a place to motivate each other to control or stop drinking.”)
Don’t feel trepidation if you’ve never spent time on Reddit. This subreddit is an extremely welcoming community for anyone who wants to ask for advice, share their experiences, and stories or simply ask for encouragement about trying to quit or cut back on alcohol. Their only rule? You can only post when sober. But you can read anytime you want and comb through the thousands of helpful threads including a daily-check in and countless stories of those who have struggled with sobriety.
This Reddit community isn’t as big as r/stopdrinking, but r/redditorsinrecovery can be a great secondary Reddit resource. Their group goal is to “discuss the various ways to achieve and maintain a life free from active addiction.” Threads in this group focus on topics such as how to cope with triggers, recovery from porn/sex addiction, how to learn after a relapse and so much more.
One of the nicest parts of this community is it focuses on recovery writ large. So, if you need sobriety support from harder drugs or other issues, then you might just feel at home here.
This online-only community is worldwide, which makes it easy to connect with like-minded women who are friendly, non-judgmental, and helping each other kick the booze and stay sober. All you need to do to join is to create a profile and look around through their wealth of information on ditching the drink, personal stories, and lots of advice to help each other work towards a happier, healthier you.
10. Sober Recovery
The forums of Sober Recovery are a great place for people with substance use disorder to find assistance and helpful information. The community has more than 168,000 people who are recovering from substance use disorder and/or codependence, as well as their friends and family.
If you’re new to recovery, you can check out the many helpful threads that are perfect for newbies: Newcomers to Recovery, Newcomer’s Daily Support Thread. You might also enjoy The Gratitude List and many other forum posts and chats. A favorite of mine is the Anxiety Disorders section, where I can talk to others in recovery who also suffer from anxiety about how we deal with staying calm in a world that sometimes just wants us to keep drinking.
If you’re seeking a community that’s focused on positive health and behavior change, then Hello Sunday Morning might be right for you. This community supports anyone who wants to change their relationship with alcohol, in whatever form—whether abstaining, taking a break, or just better understanding it.
Their community, Daybreak, is a worldwide community of “people working together to change their relationship with alcohol in an anonymous, safe and secure environment.” You can chat one-on-one with health coaches or get support from peers to go through habit change experiments and more.
Online + In-Person Combo
Soberocity could be a great solution for you if you’re looking for an online community that occasionally also has live events across the country. With happenings in New York, San Francisco, and Miami, you can meet up with fellow members in person or simply enjoy the community and all of the available resources online such as blog posts on Buddhism in recovery, how to date in early recovery, and tips on sticking to a healthier lifestyle.
Tempest is an eight-week online course and group coaching program founded by Holly Whitaker in 2014. What started as a blog and Instagram account documenting her personal journey has transformed into a community of thousands who find inspiration and support from one another through the school, aftercare program, and live events.
Disclosure: Tempest is the parent company of The Temper.
14. Club Soda
Club Soda is a mindful drinking movement that starts out with your email when you sign-up for their free-to-join community. After you register, they’ll send you five eBooklets (for free!) to help you get and stay sober.
Their material helps you set goals and track your progress, too. Not only will you get motivational emails that help you embrace the sober life and feel included, but you’ll also receive an invitation to join their supportive online community.
Club Soda also holds events in the UK, such as the Queers Without Beers London Social, which are great meetups for the British community.
Social Media Communities
15. Forever35 Sober
Forever35 is a podcast between two best friends that has sprouted many Facebook groups—but none quite as moving as the Forever35 Sober group. The community of mostly women is for supporting each other through the sobriety journey, wherever you are in the process.
The sober/sober-curious group acknowledges that all of its members do things differently and have different philosophies about drinking. One of their top rules is all about sharing that philosophy without attacking another’s.
Why? Because “living a sober/more sober life can be challenging enough without judgment from others.” At the end of the day, the recovery journey is about supporting each other every step of the way, no matter what.
Have you read the book that has helped countless people reevaluate their relationship with alcohol, The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life? If so, you might be thrilled to know that author Annie Grace has created a supportive Facebook group.
Just like the book, the group focuses on discussing “the role of alcohol in our lives openly, honestly, and without judgment.” It’s a community for people no matter where they are in their journey—even those who still love to drink but are sober curious, people who are moderating and loving (or hating) the way it’s going, or those are are completely sober already.
The group is a friendly, safe space to talk about dreams and inspirations in sobriety as well as fears and regrets. This kind of soul searching can be scary at times—but it’s also thrilling.
This Facebook group an excellent place for moms in sobriety to connect to their fellow sober mothers. It’s a welcome respite from all of those “mommy juice” jokes.
This community provides a “safe, understanding, judgment-free support system for mothers in and contemplating recovery from substance abuse/misuse.” The goal here is to empower women to reach their full recovery while parenting… which can be harder than it looks.
This support group hopes to provide opportunities for women who are balancing recovery and parental responsibilities to share with their peers about the ups, downs, and unique challenges of this lifestyle.
18. Café Re
Café Re acknowledges that it is very difficult to quit drinking by yourself. That’s why this community is a private, confidential Facebook group for those who want to find a new life. Its goal is to get rid of the stigma surrounding alcohol use disorder for everyone who wants to quit, including those who have failed once or twice before (like the community’s founder, Paul).
It reinforces the community aspect of recovery, helping you surround yourself with others who have the same goal, so you’ll be more likely to stick to it yourself. The community reinforces that it’s okay to fail so long as you get back up again, which makes it feel non-judgmental and supportive.
Ever thought: “Sobriety… is there an app for that?”
SoberGrid might just be the answer. The free iOS/Android app can connect you to other sober people all across the world. It’s a great way to get to know others in your neighborhood—or anywhere else!—to help build your sober community. One of the best features of the app was extra support during the holidays thanks to a “Burning Desire” button that allowed a user to alert others in the area that they need help when temptation arises.
SoberGrid might just be a good place to start building a support network for those who feel natural doing everything, including finding new sober friends, on their phone. The company also offers 24/7 peer coaching for those who need assistance with their recovery.
Tell Better Stories is primarily an Instagram account about examining the deeper stories hidden beneath alcohol use disorder and how alcohol is portrayed in the media and pop culture. Typically, this means questioning brands that sell T-shirts that say “Wine is My Valentine” or questioning why something like “Rage Yoga” (which involves drinking beer) even exists.
Often, the Instagram account, run by Erin Shaw Street who is a seasoned media professional, criticizes other websites and media who are promoting alcohol in an unhealthy way. But beyond that, Tell Better Stories is forming a community of women who understand that lifestyle media and female-centric marketing promoting alcohol is highly problematic.
21. She Recovers
One of the biggest resources for women in recovery is She Recovers. With events, retreats, coaching, resources, and more, this community of like-minded individuals is for women who want to be stronger together in their recovery.
This group is particularly great for women who don’t want to hit rock bottom, because one of their guiding principles is all about early recovery. She Recovers believes that you don’t have to get to the bottom in order to recover from something.
The group also focuses on individual strengths, not weaknesses, as a way to inspire change in the fellow members of the community.
Women in Sobriety has existed since 1975, which definitely makes it one of the oldest organizations on our list.
Women for Sobriety supports any woman seeking to have a new life free from drugs and alcohol. They offer support groups both online as well as in person, and have volunteers who do one-on-one support over the phone. It’s a great place to connect with fellow ladies for some support in sobriety.
As a member of the LGBT community, I sometimes have sobriety-related concerns that are difficult to share with my heterosexual friends. That’s exactly where a community like LGBTteetotaler comes in.
Started in 2016 by fellow The Temper contributor Tracy Murphy, this community involves a secret Facebook group that serves as a confidential place for queer, trans, and questioning folks who are sober, in recovery, or sober curious to share together. Sometimes, you just need a community that gets you on several levels. LGBTteetotaler can provide that boost of extra confidence.
Even those who do find the AA fellowship is extremely valuable, some can still have a hard time finding their people. That’s why Gay and Lesbians in Alcoholics Anonymous (GaL-AA) is a great group for the LGBT community.
They welcome and embrace anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ in the AA fellowship for meetings, providing that extra little bit of helpful support. They also feature a newsletter and plenty of resources (such as city updates and personal stories for inspiration) for those who want some additional information online.
There is no right or wrong way to recover. People of all walks of life come into sobriety for different reasons, which is why our list of sober communities has something for everyone and anyone.
Whether you’re a mom, part of the LGBT community, are looking for online only support, or to branch out in person, you’ll find the right community. Just remember one thing: It’s important to not isolate yourself in recovery. Instead, join one of these communities in order to be part of a sobriety network to help you through this lifelong journey.