Technology provides us with virtually unlimited possibilities for making our lives easier, more enjoyable, and convenient. Brilliant minds often spot ways to leverage existing technology for that reason and end up creating revolutions. For instance, Uber is a business that runs completely as an app, and because it makes life extremely convenient, it’s become a $40 billion empire.
One of the newest ways technology is improving our lives is through apps that provide support for people recovering from addiction. There are a handful of sobriety apps built for iOS and Android, and they seem to be gaining popularity.
Some of these apps provide access to AA materials, like an audio collection of past AA speakers and The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other apps aim to prevent relapse for people who have recently become sober. A majority of these apps provide daily meditations, prayers, and reflections, and help people keep track of their sobriety progress.
Apps can provide great support for people in 12-step programs
While many people report that 12-step programs helped them recover from addiction, it’s important to understand that these programs aren’t actually therapy; they’re peer support groups. As such, the efficacy of a 12-step program requires a commitment to show up and stick with the program. Using an app that delivers daily messages and progress tracking has the potential to support someone’s ability to stay committed to these programs.
People go to meetings to feel less alone
12-step programs are a great way to introduce people to the possibility of being sober. Just going to meetings and hearing other people share their stories of success and failure can make people feel like they’re not alone. For those who aren’t ready to check into a full-time rehab center, even if they haven’t had a single day of sobriety yet, knowing they’re not alone helps.
“Though it may seem like you are getting nothing out of it because your mind is elsewhere, you are still benefiting from the structure that these meetings and sessions provide to your schedule,” says American Addiction Centers. Other important benefits include “interaction with others in recovery, and that unexpected thing that you hear from someone that makes sense and helps you to stay sober for another day.”
Sobriety apps also provide this type of support for people. Cassava, for example, has a meeting finder feature that lets people in the US locate the nearest self-help support group meeting. They’ve got an impressive database of over 100,000 meeting locations that’s regularly being expanded. People can chat with other users, rate the meetings they attend, and find support anywhere they are.
Other apps like Squirrel Recovery have people create an accountability circle of up to ten people. The app prompts them throughout the day to share how they’re doing with their circle. The idea is to keep the person accountable and in touch to lessen the temptation of indulging in their addiction.
Apps aren’t a substitute for rehab programs
Apps are a great source of support for those who have been through recovery programs and are looking for a way to stay accountable. They’re not a substitute for actual rehab programs. The type of care a person receives in a rehab clinic or rehab center doesn’t compare to the type of support provided by sobriety apps. It is, however, a great foundation for getting the most out of these apps.
Rehab clinics and centers are designed to help people get sober in a safe, controlled environment. They’ve got a full medical and psychiatric staff available at all times – something an app can’t provide. Rehab centers also provide professional therapy, and sometimes prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to make withdrawal easier.
If you want to get sober, use every tool you’ve got
Just because sobriety apps aren’t a replacement for checking yourself into rehab doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check them out. If you’re not in a place to go into a residential rehab center, and you’re not sure about outpatient services, download a few sobriety apps and start talking to other people. Browse local meetings to see what’s going on. When you find one that piques your interest, check it out in person. You may end up meeting people who will support you on your road to recovery.