This post was written by Olivia Ianculescu of Castle Craig Hospital, an alcohol & drug rehab clinic. It is reproduced with their kind consent.
Apps for recovery
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, texting, checking the weather — everyone seems to be on their smartphone these days. But are there any mobile apps for those in drug or alcohol recovery?
Whether it’s for alcohol or drug addiction, or behavioural addictions like shopping, a host of mobile apps have been specially designed to support people in recovery.
Here is an up-to-date list of the most popular apps used for addiction recovery – in no particular order. We recommend you try them out and find the one that best suits your needs. Download links are included in brackets:
- Twelve Steps – The Companion was one of the first recovery apps available. It consists of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous; daily meditations; a sobriety calculator, reminding the user how much time they have been abstinent; as well as an AA Meeting Finder with quick access to Maps. (Android & iPhone)
- An alternative to The AA Companion is the One Day at a Time app, which also provides The Big Book along with daily meditations, an abstinence tracking system and access to helpful phone numbers. (Android & iPhone)
- Hazelden, a world-renowned American rehab clinic, recently won the White House Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge award for its Mobile app: MORE “Field Guide to Life”. This new app is part of MORE (My Ongoing Recovery Experience), a web-based program of personalized continuing care provided by Hazelden to its former patients. The app guides users through the stages of early recovery for a year. (Android & iPhone)
- While alcoholics in recovery can get the A.A. Speakers app – a collection of over 300 audio recordings of people speaking at AA meetings – with a note of where the recording was made (Android & iPhone); people in drug addiction recovery who prefer audio material can get a separate app to listen to over 300 speakers at NA conventions. (Android & iPhone)
- Afternoon Affirmations sends users inspirational quotes, photos or videos every day at 1 pm. It is aimed at people suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, prescription drug addiction, gambling addiction or eating disorders. (iPhone only)
- The Mindfulness Meditation app encourages users to take a break, set a meditation time and start relaxing. Mindfulness is known to be helpful in recovery by helping people de-stress. (Android & iPhone)
- iPromises is a free app that incorporates “trigger alerts” (warnings about the risks of relapse), a directory of AA sponsors (mentors in the AA methodology), a progress-tracking calendar and a directory of phone numbers for AA meetings anywhere in the USA or Canada. (Android & iPhone)
- CleanTime Counter keeps track of the user’s sobriety by calculating the time that has elapsed since a starting date. It has different customisable settings. (Android only)
- There’s even an app to help dependent people who are travelling to find the closest NA Meeting. This also includes daily meditations, websites and helplines for the traveler’s selected area. (Android & iPhone)
- Another popular app from Hazelden is My Sober Life. Specifically aimed at young people (ages 12 to 25) it provides such features as: a sober counter; daily guidance with inspiring thoughts; a photo uploader to be reminded of the person’s motivations in recovery; tracker of obstacles (triggers, stress, anger, etc); relapse prevention tool; AA, NA, Al-Anon meeting finder; addiction news and more. (Android & iPhone)
- The recoveryBox app uses a light system to keep track of the user’s daily activities. These are put into categories to mark their helpfulness: green light for beneficial activities, yellow light for potentially harmful behavior and red light for “acting out” or dangerous activities. It also has an email/text service to keep the person connected with their sponsor or counselor. An interesting thing is that this particular app supports from conventional to less-mainstream dependencies, like addiction to caffeine, exercise, social media, shopping, perfectionism, etc. (iPhone only)
- Sober Grid is a social networking app that gives access to a global recovery community. Its geosocial searching features allows users to find other sober people locally and around the world. Users can choose to remain anonymous, while being able to message other users, share content, answer questions and provide help. If a user is in need, they can select the “Burning Desire” button which highlights their profile in red, showing others they are going through a hard time and need support. (Android & iPhone)