INTERVIEWS with addiction aftercare programs: Beating Addiction
1. What was the impetus to start BeatingAddiction.com? What is its mission, core beliefs and how is it funded?
In late 2004, towards the beginning of 2005, I recognized and realized that social networking and its concepts of getting people together, etc, were a great idea – before MySpace, Facebook, and other similar sites really became as big as they are today. I felt that MySpace and Facebook really had no underlying purpose other than to get people together; they were “places for friends” but what else? That’s when the idea of overcoming addiction using social networking hit me.
People can be addicted to anything : alcohol, shopping, coffee, working, etc; whatever it was, the site would have it – and if it didn’t have it, people could add it. Because of that, and because I figured many people would like to get help but don’t want to actually show up in person for some type of treatment, people could be in the comfort of their own homes, finding out more information about recovery all while being as public or as private as they like. And for those that just wanted to join “another social network” or be part of something else, they could become a member, specify their addiction(s) and then all of a sudden, they’re taking steps to curb the addictions they have just by talking.
Beating Addiction’s goal is to help people overcome addiction. For many that is a very tough goal so, at the bare minimum, our mission is to get people interested in some sort of recovery and they can do that by casually speaking with each other to determine what helped and didn’t help someone in their efforts of recovery – and low and behold, they’ve begun taking small steps toward recovery. Moneywise, we’re self-funded.
2. How is the site managed?
The social network aspect of the site is managed, generally, by three types of users. The management level consists of system administrators, site administrators, and site moderators. They all have and play different roles in managing the site.
3. What demographic of people are you trying to reach today, and how might that change going forward?
We’re trying to reach anyone that has an addiction to anything. In the USA alone, recent reports show about 10 million people have an addiction to something while only about 2.5 million acknowledge that they have one. As of now, country-wise, I would say our current demographic is mainly American because we don’t have the manpower or the resources to take it to an international level – the website isn’t localized for different countries either so that’ll take a while too to prepare and release. Since the website is in BETA mode and we’re testing all the features with a wider audience, I’m sure many things may and will change when moving forward. Does that include the demographic? Possibly. We know that the younger generation of people are, generally, more tech savvy so there’s a lot of variables in play that need to be and will be considered when taking the site to the next level and, as you put it, going forward.
4. Do you search for partners, or are you focused on being a self-reliant program?
We’d like to search for partners however our manpower is currently limited so we are strategically spending our time on the things that are the most important and that is finishing the product. Corporate-partner wise, we’d like to bring some industry veterans on board so we can take the website to the next level and beyond. Business-partner wise, we’d like to bring individual professionals, recovery facilities, and more to the site so that users may have access to more professional and proven methods of recovery (already in the works).
5. What new programs or features do you plan for the coming months/years that we should know about?
All the sections of the site that say coming soon! There are only a few parts that say that but some are a bit in-depth in terms of features and integrated functionality. Those sections include: recovery programs, facilities, donations, an affiliate program, and ones that we haven’t thought of yet (for example, after receiving feedback from a member or visitor about an idea, etc).