THE SOBER SOCIAL NETWORK
A flood of sobriety-related apps are providing potentially useful tools for addicts in recovery. The Twelve Step Companion, for instance, features a down-to-the-hour sober time calculator, plus the latest edition of Alcoholics Anonymous, while i-Recovery offers links to local twelve step fellowships. But the newest generation of sober apps seeks to connect users within, rather than through, the apps themselves.
Sober Grid, founded by Beau Mann, is a social networking platform for people in recovery, with a setup not entirely dissimilar to Facebook. On Sober Grid, though, users can remain anonymous while they access a public news feed, a “grid” of photos of potential friends, and a personal messaging system, among other features. Mann, himself a recovering addict, argues that his app is a useful supplement to other platforms, allowing users to share information they otherwise wouldn’t be comfortable revealing:
“We definitely want to get to the point where there’s no stigma. But that’s not the reality right now. The app is necessary because someone else that’s dealt with alcoholism or cocaine addiction and they’re sober, and they’ve dealt with those triggers, they can help.”
Some, however, are able to share their recovery on good ol’ fashioned Instagram. In a recent study, researchers from Recovery.org tracked nine hashtags related to sobriety and mapped them against the fifty states, finding that users in Utah post about recovery the most (144.4 mentions per 100,000 residents) and Mississippi the least (two mentions per 100,00 residents). California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Nevada round out the top five.
For people in recovery, social media presents challenges for confidentiality and anonymity that each person must navigate for themselves. And though much has been made about the dangers of Internet overuse, access to networking apps, whether they be sober or not, may, in moderation, be another tool for recovering addicts. If recovery depends on fostering connection, why not make some of those connections through social media?