Currently, in the United States, we are in the midst of an addiction crisis, with more people than ever before struggling with substance use disorders. Unfortunately, even for those who do receive treatment, maintaining sobriety can be just as hard as achieving it.
Luckily, we are also in the middle of a personal technology renaissance, with more tools, knowledge, and resources in the palms of our hands than ever before. This includes access to addiction recovery resources in the form of smartphone apps.
Meant to help personalize and assist with the process of recovery and staying abstinent, these recovery apps could change the way we look at post-treatment aftercare, providing a constant link to encouragement, support, and expertise.
Recovery Resources at Your Fingertips
Post-treatment aftercare and recovery have traditionally taken the form of support groups or programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. While this human element is obviously important, a sobriety app puts the support group in your pocket and brings recovery into the digital age.
While a sober tool app is meant to be just that, a tool and not a substitute for addiction therapy or treatment, it can still be extremely beneficial to those in recovery in the following ways:
Not everyone has access to in-person recovery support. It may not be readily available where they live, or they might have responsibilities to their work, school, or family that keep from being able to regularly attend group meetings.
However, the vast majority of people today do have smartphones. These apps are available for download, typically across all phone platforms, for anyone who needs them and they are usually either free or cost only a few dollars. For this reason, a sobriety app could be considered one of the most accessible forms of recovery support.
Whatever the obstacle that might keep someone from accessing aftercare, recovery apps are readily available on your mobile device.
While an AA group or sponsor can help you some of the time, once outside of an addiction treatment program, it is almost impossible to have constant access to a support network. And while you may have to deal with potential triggers wherever you go, your smartphone goes wherever you do.
A sobriety app can provide you with constant access to coping tips, encouragement, expert help, emergency chats, and more, whenever you might need it.
Most recovery apps available, either made by addiction specialists and researchers, make use of evidence-based tools and resources, or, at the very least, can connect you with an expert who can provide you with help.
These apps are also often made by people who have been in recovery themselves and know firsthand how difficult maintaining sobriety can be. Some apps, as you’ll read below, are meant to be used in tandem with a clinician or therapist and have been approved as a medical tool.
Addiction recovery is an extremely personal journey that’s different for everyone. While many people find talking and sharing experiences in a support group to be helpful, others may not be comfortable with doing so.
Recovery apps allow someone to anonymously seek out support without necessarily having to join a group or speak to a clinician or therapist in person, as many of these apps also provide a text chat feature.
What Are the Best Sobriety Apps?
There is a wide range of recovery apps available that utilize different tools and techniques to help you stay sober. Some of them are meant for individual use, while others are designed to put you in contact with a digital support network. Some are substance-specific, and others are meant to encourage abstinence from any kind of addictive behavior.
It is important to do your own research, as only you know what will work best for your recovery. With that in mind, these are some of the most popular as well as most proven apps for fostering addiction recovery and preventing relapse.
1. Sober Grid
Available for both iPhone and Android products, the sobriety app Sober Grid describes itself as a social network for those in recovery. Sober Grid uses your smartphone’s GPS to allow you to see people in your area who are also using the app.
While you can choose to remain anonymous, and just follow the newsfeed, which features people sharing positive quotes, encouragement, and updates, it is most useful as a way to chat with and potentially meet up with others who are also in recovery.
Perhaps most helpful is the “Burning Desire” feature, which you can use to put a red box around your profile and alert those on Sober Grid that you are at high risk of relapsing and need support.
Currently, Sober Grid is free to use, although there is a premium version that costs $4.
Designed specifically for people in recovery from alcohol addiction, SoberTool is a free app for iPhone and Android users that was created by a licensed and certified drug and alcohol counselor from Harvard.
It has many different features, including tracking days sober and how much money you have saved by not buying alcohol, as well as daily motivational messages and reminders to open and use the app.
SoberTool also helps create personalized relapse prevention tips based on your answers to question prompts like “Do you need help making a decision?” or “Are you currently experiencing stress?” and provides a search function to find ways to cope with triggering emotions and situations.
Unlike the other recovery apps on our list, recoveryBox Addiction Recovery is not free, costing $2 to download. It is, however, frequently updating and changing to incorporate new tools and provide a more helpful experience.
The main goal of recoveryBox is to keep you accountable for your actions in recovery. Using a calendar, you can customize treatment goals to keep you on track, logging daily activities that are classified as green for positive behavior, yellow for warnings, and red for behaviors that are harmful to your recovery.
What you enter is stored and tracked over time and emailed to your spouse, sponsor, or someone else who is acting as your accountability partner. Currently, recoveryBox is only available for iPhone users.
Nomo was created by someone who was in recovery himself and wanted to have an app that kept him on track and motivated. Similar to the other apps we’ve listed, Nomo provides a sobriety tracker, can share information with accountability partners, and issues reward chips every time you hit a recovery milestone.
Nomo also has little games and exercises that are meant to help distract you from cravings and refocus during times of stress. Nomo is free to download and available for both iPhone and Android users.
5. Pear reSET
Pear reSET is a bit different from the rest of the apps on this list in that, while it is free to download, it requires a prescription to be able to use. Pear has stated that the reason for this is that the app is designed for use between patient and clinician.
The first mobile app to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help treat substance use disorders, reSET uses a 12-week program schedule that includes lessons, quizzes, and virtual rewards.
As part of receiving FDA approval, reSET was used in a randomized clinical trial that found that there were overall higher rates of abstinence among those who used the app at over 40 percent, compared to just under 18 percent among those who did not.
Recovery Begins with Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one is currently struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, an addiction treatment program is the first step toward taking back your life and getting on the path to a substance-free tomorrow.
At New Perspectives, our addiction specialists can help you find the treatment program that best fits the needs of you or your loved one, as well as help with any questions or concerns you might have.
So don’t wait any longer for the treatment you need and deserve; call 855-463-0793 any time, day or night, or contact us online for more information.