The potential for technology to help people connect with each other has expanded in ways previous generations would have been unable to imagine. A variety of social media websites and applications have enabled people all over the world to connect, communicate with each other, and share ideas, and people are joining these websites and therefore learning about each other, transcending all boundaries of place. According to an internal report, company suggest that as of June 30, 2015, there are 1.49 billion active users on Facebook alone, and that is just one of many technologies allowing for people to communicate with each other.
The present age’s unparalleled opportunity to connect with people can provide some very exciting opportunities for people in recovery. One of the most important ways you can hold on to your sobriety and the new lifestyle of freedom it offers is a network of support. By being with other people able to hear your struggles and offer support, you are empowered to continue doing the work needed to live a thriving life. Recently, some people have harnessed the potential for social network technology and developed apps specifically designed for people in recovery to find each other.
Sober Grid launched in July, 2015 as a way to help people in recovery connect with each other. It was created by Beau Mann, who is in addiction recovery himself, and felt discouraged when attending the Sundance Film Festival and found it difficult to be around the usual party scene. As a gay man, he found a lot of resources to connect with that community, but realize “the sober population is much larger,” and that “We should have [an app for connecting with each other] too.’” As a result, he developed the Sober Grid with two parts. The first is a newsfeed in which users can post content and respond to each other virtually. Questions are asked and answered, people going through hard days receive sympathy and encouragement, and milestones are celebrated, in a global support group.
The other part of the app is a grid that allows people to reveal their location. If they choose, people can reveal their location for in-person connection. In this way, people can get rides to support groups, find someone to talk to in a crisis, or just meet up and have fun together, finding ways to enjoy the sober life.
While Sober Grid is built around supporting the recovery process directly, the Clean Fun Network is geared towards creating socialization and having fun together. Co-creators Jimmy Hamm and MJ Gottlieb feared their own sobriety would mean the end of an active social life. However, they actually found that the sober community had untold potential for all kinds of new found adventures.
Through the free Clean Fun Network App, sober user can communicate their interests, and plan outings and fun things to do with like-minded sober people. Ranging from dinner with a few new friends, to adventurous trips to national parks and places like Costa Rica, the Clean Fun Network enables you to see just how exciting a sober life can be.
It is not all about struggle to avoid giving in to cravings, but should also mean finding new ways to enjoy life, especially with other people. Discover what it can be like to be a beautiful place in nature, being able to see things clearly without the haze of a high or the sickness afterwards. Clean Fun is an excellent way to provide that opportunity.
Meeting a more specialized, yet very important, social need for the mature person in long-term Sober is designed specifically to facilitate dating and romantic relationships between people in long-term recovery. Designed to be similar to the popular dating app Tinder, users can select people in their locations and swipe past profiles to select a person with whom they would like to connect.
Creator Antonie Nauleau sees the app’s purpose as going far beyond the traditional dating app, and is working to expand the project to allow users to choose one-on-one relationships with sober people of all types. There are options to choose to become someone’s sponsor, or simply to establish a friendship in a safe environment. Connections with like-minded people can be a strong support for the recovery process.
None of these technological opportunities for virtual community should be a substitute for the person-to-person interactions that are crucial in the recovery journey. Old-fashioned ways of meeting for a support group continue to be the most direct way to get help from others in your support group. However, used alongside direct contact with supportive friends and family, these new apps may be important tools to further develop a sense of community and connection with the people who can walk alongside you.