Finding people in addiction recovery: INTERVIEW with Sober Grid
Today we are talking about one really interesting project that’s caught our eye. It’s an application which help sober people to connect with each other, to meet socialize, share experiences…IN REAL TIME.
While waiting for the app to be released, we’re talking to Founders Beau Mann and Nick Farni. Read the Q&A session below for more. And if you still have questions about apps for addicts in recovery, please address them in the comment section at the end.
ADDICTION BLOG: Tell us something more about Sober Grid. What kind of app is this? Who is it meant for? Is the app free or do you have to pay for it?
SOBER GRID: Sober Grid is a new geo-social app for the iPhone and Android that allows sober people to locate and connect with other sober people nearby and across the world.
The app is for anyone who is alcohol and drug free and wants to connect and interact with other sober people, wherever they may be located. The Sober Grid app allows users to interact other users online through chat and personal messages. Sober Grid is free to the public but there will be a premium service for monthly fee only for users who want additional features and functionality to enhance their Sober Grid experience.
There are unique features that Sober Grid offers including a “burning desire” option that adds a red box over your profile to indicate you feel your sobriety is in danger and are in need of immediate support. There is also a “need a ride” option for users who need a ride to a 12 step meeting or sober social gathering. The Sober Grid app will also have additional functionalities that we are not able to disclose until it is launched to the public.
ADDICTION BLOG: How did you come up with the idea?
SOBER GRID: I was newly sober when I found myself alone on a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. I was meeting friends there but I didn’t know anyone else who was sober like me.
Being newly sober is hard enough, but the risk of relapse is much greater being far from my sober friends and support network. I was feeling lonely and just wanted to meet people without going to bars and other social venues that can be risky for someone trying to maintain his or her sobriety. I used a popular gay geo-social app to find people to connect with but quickly found there were many non-sober individuals online. It was on this trip to Sundance that the idea of Sober Grid originated and it’s been my dream and mission to make this app a reality.
ADDICTION BLOG: There are those in 12 step programs who are not well intentioned. How can users SAFELY use Sober Grid?
SOBER GRID: Sober Grid allows users to block anyone they do not want to interact with so that neither party can view each other. There are people in 12 steps meetings and in every walk of life that are not well intentioned – which is always best to avoid those people.
We consider that Sober Grid is by its nature self-selecting; only sober people would have a desire to seek out other sober people. There will always be some level of risk of users with less than admirable intentions, but we consider the risk to Sober Grid users is similar if not less than that of any other risk you would have at a 12 step meeting or a sober platform like a sober cruise ship.
ADDICTION BLOG: What data are you asking to collect from users? Also, what kind of user privacy settings can be controlled?
SOBER GRID: Sober Grid is an anonymous app. We do not collect data. Sober Grid users may remain completely anonymous or upload a photo and user name to identify themselves to others. Sober Grid will not share any users’ personal information with a third party.
ADDICTION BLOG: Basically, your app was designed to help people that are in recovery from addiction to socialize and get back their lives. Did you have any advice from addiction professionals when creating it?
SOBER GRID: We did consult with addiction professionals. They were very excited by the idea and provided very positive feedback. Those professionals stated that they would encourage their patients and clients to use a sober platform like Sober Grid.
We got feedback that it would be a helpful tool for Discharge Coordinators at rehabs to offer to their clients. One leading interventionist suggested we leave the app open to be a platform for people in walks of recovery including those who are not in 12 step program.
We encourage addiction professionals to add Sober Grid as one of many tools used to enable those dealing with addiction and recovery to stay sober. We see Sober Grid not as an alternative to but rather a way to enhance peer support groups and other 12 step programs. Addiction is a serious issue and any tool like Sober Grid that facilitates sober living and recovery should be considered part of a comprehensive program of support for those dealing with addiction.
ADDICTION BLOG: Geographically, is Sober Grid limited to the U.S.? Or is it possible to be used worldwide?
SOBER GRID: We see Sober Grid as a global application to be used anywhere sober people live, throughout the United States and across the world.
Sober people in major cities and rural areas can both benefit from the ability to use the Sober Grid app to connect with other sober people. We have pre-launch sign ups from all over the United States, Canada, Europe and even Dubai in the Middle East. Our vision for Sober Grid is to reach sober people in every city, state and country across the globe.
ADDICTION BLOG: What are your expectations of Social Grid? Do you have any initial feedback?
SOBER GRID: There has been a tremendous outpouring of support and excitement for the Sober Grid app. We have gotten extremely positive feedback from sober people everywhere through various social media platforms. There is a great deal of demand for this application and we expect Sober Grid to be successful in its mission to connect and enhance the lives of sober people everywhere.
ADDICTION BLOG: Do you have any ideas for another similar applications, for similar purposes?
SOBER GRID: We are looking to add features and functionality in subsequent application updates, particular for premium users. We also have a second application in development.
ADDICTION BLOG: Would you share how did you raise money for creating the app? Were there any donations from health institutions, any support?
SOBER GRID: We have raised start-up capital from a few generous individuals. We are seeking to become self-sustaining through our monthly premium subscription offering and advertisements. For the vast majority of Sober Grid app users, there is no obligation or fee for downloading and using Sober Grid.
ADDICTION BLOG: Would you like to add anything for our readers?
SOBER GRID: We hope your readers recognize the benefit of Sober Grid and how it can help people maintain their sobriety and enhance their lives. We encourage you to share this app with anyone who is in recovery and wants to connect with sober people across the world.