Our Philosophy:

The Counselling Online Forum is a recovery orientated peer support community for people affected by their own or a significant others substance use. Our community celebrates the journey of recovery by embracing the path of change. Whilst acknowledging where we have come from, and being mindful of this moment in time, we focus on where we are going as we take our steps forward.

This is a confidential, anonymous community in which people over 18 and living in Australia can connect to and share support with others who are living similar experiences. It is a community where you can feel comfortable and confident to share stories and strategies, document your journey and gain the support and motivation of others.

Whilst our forums are moderated and facilitated by Counselling Online clinicians please keep in mind this community is not a crisis or counselling service. For urgent and confidential support, contact Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or 000 in an emergency.

To ensure the community remains a safe and supportive environment for all members, there are some guidelines we adhere to.

When writing in the forums:

  • Keep it respectful – Be kind to one another.
    Never discriminate, defame or belittle others. This includes but isn’t exclusive to offensive statements based on race, sex, religion or ethnicity. Offensive words will be filtered.
  • Be supportive – Consider the feelings of others.
    Bullying, hostility, embarrassment or trolling of other members or facilitators will not be tolerated. Do not promote personal beliefs in a way that is offensive to others.
  • Stay anonymous – Staying anonymous allows you to post honestly.
    You should not share information about yours or others’ full name, email or post address, workplace, or any other identifiable information.
  • Focus on recovery – Consider the journey of yourself and other members.
    Do not promote substance use of any kind or in any capacity, including the re-introduction of substances. Support recovery-oriented behaviours.
  • Recognise others’ triggers – Some topics can be triggering or upsetting for others to hear.
    While triggers can vary depending on the individual there is some content that we do not allow. See our ‘To avoid’ list below for further information.
  • This is a peer space – The forums are a place for communication among peers.
    Any commercial or professional advice from anyone except for our facilitators will not be allowed. This includes legal, financial or medical advice, SPAM activity, or posts demonstrating commercial interests. Individuals are only to have one account.
    Research requests / recruitment need to get ethical approval before posting. You can make contact through the website’s Contact us form.

Please avoid
To ensure that this is a safe environment, posts containing the following content will not be approved:

  • Quantities/amounts of substances. General terms such as ‘some’ are more suitable.
  • Alcohol specifics such as branding. General types such as ‘Beer,’ ‘wine’ and ‘spirit’ are fine.
  • Specific drugs. Instead please keep descriptors to classes of drugs rather than specifics. Eg. ‘benzodiazepines’ rather than ‘valium’ etc. ‘Opiates’ rather than ‘oxycontin’, and we prefer general terms for other drugs.
  • Describing methods of consumption beyond general terms such as ‘took’, ‘had’, ‘drank’ ‘smoked’ etc.
  • Graphic or specific details of self-harm, suicide or violent actions


Though we prefer to take a back seat in conversations, facilitators are always here to help with any questions you may have.

We have recently changed from pre-moderation to post-moderation which means that all posts now go live instantly. This enables you to receive real time responses from the community.

To ensure the integrity of our community, we do ask that all posts are in alignment with our philosophy and guidelines. Occasionally some posts may need to be removed due to its inappropriate or triggering nature. We understand problems with content are usually unintentional. If this does occur, we will send you an email with a suggestion on how you could rephrase your post and ask you to repost it again.


As a member of the community you have the right to feel safe.
If there is something which you feel breaches these guidelines or doesn’t feel right for you, press the “!” button above the post to report it to a facilitator.

Any other questions you have may be addressed in the How-To Post, or the terms and conditions.

We very much look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in the forums soon.