Other Forms of Peer Support

People in treatment for alcohol use disorders may access other (less established) forms of peer support, although limited research has been conducted to date examining their effectiveness. This can include support from peer workers (i.e. a person with lived experience of alcohol or other drug issues with skills learned in formal training and who are employed in treatment services) or who provide support as unpaid volunteers. This typically entails the provision of non-clinical assistance, utilising personal experiences to promote understanding and foster connection.  

Independent peer support is also emerging in the online environment through community support forums such as on the national alcohol and other drug online counselling service, Counselling Online and Hello Sunday Morning, as well as repositories of recovery stories (e.g., Lives of Substance). There are also Facebook groups or other social media platforms where support can be delivered by a person (or people) with lived experience of alcohol or drug problems. However, these less-established/emerging forms of peer-support have yet to undergo formal evaluation. As such, there is currently limited evidence of their effectiveness, though qualitative research and analysis of blog posts suggest that many people benefit from engaging with these alternative forms of peer support.

Chapter Recommendation Grade of recommendation
11.4 Non-12-step/SMART online peer support may help patients reduce their alcohol consumption. GPP