New “Sober Grid” Social Network App
Author: Justin Mckibben
This definitely isn’t the first time the question has been proposed as to whether social networks like Facebook and Instagram do or don’t have an effect on recovery from drug or alcohol addiction… or if that effect is a positive or negative.
Some have suggested social networking is an easy way for recovering addicts and alcoholics around the world to connect and share their experiences in support of one another, or to find meetings and get involved in movements to raise awareness and combat stigma.
Others suggest social media poses a threat to the ideal of personal anonymity and security, which is a core concept of most recovery programs such as 12 step fellowships.
Well agree or disagree, sober people are exercising their right to network, and with that comes new apps.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce some of you to Sober Grid, a brand new geosocial format for iPhone and Android users to sync their sobriety to their smartphone.
Beau Mann is a co-founder of Sober Grid who says he came up with this new idea in the early days of his sobriety when he took a trip to the Sundance Film Festival and while mingling in the midst of cocktails and social drinking he utilized another popular geosocial app to connect with people. The only draw-back, he felt, was many of those he linked up with were not sober.
The app Mann used was Grindr, a piece of technology developed to connect people in the gay community. Mann said he was then forced to ask himself,
“If there is an app like Grindr for gays, why isn’t there an app for sober people to connect with others?”
After the trip Mann has made it his business to develop “the Grid” and get it streaming out over the wireless world to sober people, hoping to provide them with added support from the stress that may be induced during similar risky situations by helping them locate and communicate with each other.
This is definitely not the first sober social network app idea, and other developers have made some pretty good contributions with different capabilities. Probably one of the functions of this app that sets it apart from a lot of other sober social network apps out there is that it’s geosocial.
Geosocial networking is a type of social networking utilizing geographic services and capabilities. With resources like geocoding and geotagging enabled a user is brought additional social dynamics. So the app is able to lock onto your location, and then find other sober people in proximity to you.
“Sober Grid provides direct access to a global sober community and provides a variety of means by which sober people can access and engage with a strong social network at any time and anywhere they may be,”
Apps like Grindr are primarily set up to match up, meet up and hook up. Considering this, Mann was asked if this was also an attempt to digitize the sober dating scene. Mann insists it is not designed to be a dating app, but he knows people will do what they want with the power put at their finger-tips, and supports members of the Sober Grid community using the app to find a sober partner.
However, he did emphasize the primary purpose is to connect sober people, to create connection in an expanding sober community.
The Sober Grid app is free. There is a premium version, which has extra features like more memory for storing photos, but it comes with a price-tag. Some functions in the app include:
- “Need a Ride”
This allows users to contact other sober people for ride sharing services, which may be particularly helpful for those with revoked liscences or other circumstances who need help getting to meetings.
- “Burning Desire Button”
A “burning desire” is a common term in 12 step fellowships for someone who has an urge to drink or use. Pressing the button will alert others nearby that your struggling and could use support, which may prompt others to reach out.
Now with the geosocial aspect, you may also have more people who realize this means anyone signed in on their phone can find you if you are sober in their vicinity. That is basically the point of this app. So if you don’t want any random stranger who is sober to be able to identify you when nearby, you probably don’t want this one.
Or just don’t include a photo of yourself. Either way if you are looking into sober social networking, you may not be all too concerned with breaking you anonymity at an online level.
Whether you personally want to download it or not, Sober Grid is sure to be a tool that a lot of young people especially are soon to take advantage of for continued support and outreach. With this being a digital era, it was sure to happen that someone would want to incorporate their sober network with their social network.
Hopefully these kinds of innovations are used responsibly for the betterment of others. Some sober apps actually include features to help addicts or alcoholics struggling to find treatment or even emergency services. It is important every addict or alcoholic is aware of the opportunities available to them, and they have the support to use them.
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