chapter  9
Online support communities in addiction recovery: capturing social interaction and identity change through analyses of online communication
ByAna-Maria Bliuc, David Best, Melinda Beckwith, Muhammad Iqbal
Pages 18

As contemporary approaches to addiction treatment are evolving from models predominantly focused on acute bio-psychosocial stabilisation to models similar to managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure (White, 2009), the importance of communities of support becomes more central. The role of social support groups in recovery from addiction (Best et al., 2016), and other health conditions (Jetten, Haslam, & Haslam, 2012) has long been recognised and extensively researched. There has been a move from models predicated on an ‘individual struggle’ to a shared recovery process, that is, from an individual-focused approach to change to more socially oriented alternatives, not only regarding treat - ment per se, but also in how support for recovery is conceptualised (Beckwith, Bliuc, & Best, 2016; White, 1998). Recent definitions of recovery from addiction characterise recovery as a “process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012). SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery encompasses four dimensions necessary to support recovery – health, home, purpose and community – incorporating the recognition that, during this process, social support is paramount (Betty Ford Institute, 2007).