Okay, I lied. This list isn’t really the five best recovery apps; it’s five recovery app categories with a few app recommendations within each (covering both iPhone and Android). I apologize for my dishonesty but I hope these resources will be helpful enough for you to forgive me. Look guys, it’s progress not perfection.
If you are newly sober, you will learn that having alcoholism is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing being that there is a solution and that so many people in the world are going through what you are going through right this moment, and even more who have been there and lived to talk about it (I think the curse part is self-explanatory). But those of you who are quitting drinking and using, or who are in early sobriety, or just wish to feel more connected to the sober community, are very lucky. Now, more than ever, technology affords us (at least those with smart phones, a computer and Internet access) a plethora of online support, which wasn’t available 10-plus years ago.
Here is a look at five areas where having an “app for that” can really save our sober butts.
1) Access to the Literature
I bought this app as soon as I got my first iPhone, in 2010, and have used it almost as much as my Amazon app. Okay, that’s a gross exaggeration for dramatic effect but I really have used it a lot. It is kind of a must-have for anyone who is sober through 12-step as it provides quick access to the entire Big Book (complete with Forwards to the first and second edition, The Doctor’s Opinion and the personal stories), appendices discussing the Spiritual Experience, the AA Tradition and both the short and long form of the 12 Traditions, prayers (morning, evening, one correlated to each step, St. Francis and the Serenity Prayer), the Promises (one for every step!) and AA’s Preamble, which is very handy if you want to conduct a meeting on the fly.
The 12 Step Companion also has a sobriety calculator, which is the greeting interface of the app, and it keeps track of how long you have been sober in years, months, days and even hours. No, you don’t have to be one of those people in meetings who announces how many minutes you’ve been sober, but at least if you have the info.
2) Sobriety Tracker
Recovery Elevator is relatively new to the market but it doesn’t make this borderline genius app any less awesome. Created by the folks over at Recovery Elevator, who also run a website, host a podcast and organize sober social meet-ups, this clever little app not only keeps track of how long you are sober but it also calculates how much money you have saved not drinking (or whatever you are tracking—smoking, doing blow, slamming H) and how many calories you didn’t consume by not drinking (this obviously doesn’t apply to cigarettes, cocaine or heroin but it could apply to semen if that’s your thing).
Clean Time Counter (Android only) – FREE
If you are a proud owner of an Android-based device, strictly a lover of narcotics or not down with the term “sober,” you are in luck! The Clean Time Counter will keep track of how many years, days, hours and seconds you have been clean. And as an equal opportunity counter, it will ask you, under the user profile settings, whether you are clean or sober (which, beyond terminology, is the same thing).
Although this app has nothing directly to do with sobriety, it is a valuable tool for those of us trudging the road of happy destiny. Happify is chock full of inspiring games and activities that help manage daily stress and anxiety. While everyone can benefit from a little Happifyness in their lives, alcoholics and addicts are certainly at the front of the line (not because they need it more, per se, but because they got there early and secured their spot). Developed by scientists, this app has received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Today Show and Katie Couric.
From the Grand Poobah of recovery, Hazelden brings us an e-derivative of their popular daily meditations book by the same name. Complete with 366 meditations, this app eliminates the need to make a DIY book cover out of grocery bags so you can meditate on the bus without the world being all up in your spiritual biznass. As far as apps go, the cost may seem steep but if you look at it as an e-book, which is pretty much what it is, it’s a lot cheaper than the $12-$16 price tag of the hard copy.
4) Social Connection
Ever wish there was Facebook just for sober people? Your wish has been granted with this new handy app that’s getting big buzz, particularly around LA. Connect with other sober people locally and worldwide using all the social media features we love, with a twist! Profiles include common buddies, sobriety dates, affiliated program, interests, activities, endorsements and the ability to post video and audio mini-shares. But what makes MOBER essentially more awesome than Facebook is the fact that the core connection among members is already there—being sober—so the moment you log on, you have a huge network of people at your fingertips for support, sober activities or just making new friends. While MOBER isn’t the only app out there for sober social networking, it’s certainly the latest and greatest, with a fresh, clean interface and resources that are all absolutely free.
5) Doing The Work
Spot Check Inventory (iPhone only) – $.99
As most of us know, just because we no longer drink or use, we are not immune to daily upsets. Through 12-step work, we learned how to take an inventory of ourselves and make amends to the people we have harmed. For the price of a condom at the 99 Cents Store, the Spot Check Inventory app nudges you to do just that so you can see your part and right any wrongs. Or just see your part and then do nothing but stew on it for months until you wake up one morning hating life and don’t know why, at which point you can reflect back on that inventory and make things right. But I digress. In 12-step, we believe that it’s the same disease that connects us all; however, the folks over at Spot Check Inventory don’t share our disregard for separatism and have only made their app available for iPhone users.
Gratitude Journal (iPhone only) – $2.99
I’ll tell you what I am grateful for: having an iPhone! Androidians lose again with this adorable little app that allows you to make a gratitude list on the go. This is super handy when you are waiting for your friend who is already 20 minutes late and just texted you that she is “leaving now.” Don’t get resentful, get grateful! There are so many blessings in our lives but like a tree in the forest, they don’t really exist if we don’t acknowledge them. So get to work!
Saving the best for last. If other apps are convenience stores, the 12 Steps AA Spiritual Tool Kit is Target. Complete with a journal, gratitude list, spot check inventory and a sobriety calculator, this one-stop-shop for staying sober and spiritually fit is the perfect way to keep it simple. Oh and it’s FREE!