Trisha Wiles, 26, recently launched iamafighter.com, an anonymous social network for addicts seeking help; inspired to do so because of her own struggles with alcohol addiction.
When Trisha stopped drinking back in August 2011, she found herself living in a rural part of Ohio, feeling very isolated, with little means to support herself. Alcoholism had depleted her funds forcing Trisha to drop out of college. She was in her third year at Ohio State University, studying philosophy and women’s studies.
The young woman battled depression, eating disorders, and had been the victim of bullying.
Further compounding her frustration and loneliness, Trisha was living 20 minutes from the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, but could not afford to drive there.
Alcohol Anonymous, more commonly referred to by its initials AA, is a support group geared towards participants getting sober, staying sober, and helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety by using a 12-step program model of character and spiritual development.
“I didn’t have the money to seek help, so in the beginning, I went at it on my own,” she said in NJ News. “I thought to myself, my God, there’s got to be another way.”
That’s when Trisha came up with an alternative. Now, with more than two years of sobriety under her belt, Trisha dedicates her time to helping others suffering with addiction with her new website.
Iamafighter.com is a free anonymous social network source dedicated to aid those with addiction and mental health issues. The site filters addictions and other conditions so users can connect with fellow members in 20 different color-coded virtual support groups.
The website is monitored and has safeguards in place to prevent abuse within the forums.
The online source permits for immediate support – like someone needing advice or just to talk at 2 a.m. And the site provides more privacy and is less intimidating than a traditional face-to-face meeting.
Unlike some counseling alternatives, iamafighter.com caters to the existing co-morbidity alcoholics and other types of addicts can suffer from – the combination of other disorders, like mental health issues and depression, intermingled with the addiction.
“I don’t think that money or stigma should play a role in people getting the help that they need,” Wiles said. “I think that’s just human nature. You go through something, and you want to help others go through it.”
[Photo Credit: Trisha Wiles’ FB]