Author: Justin Mckibben
People are strange when you’re a stranger. Being in recovery it can seem like we are a little extra strange to some, or not strange enough for others. So of course finding a roommate while in recovery can be a daunting task. For some people it is already difficult finding someone you can stand to live with. With a lot of people, searching through room-for-rent ads on Craigslist makes them just as anxious as trying to find a roommate in their halfway house.
Some of us just get lucky, and some of us definitely don’t. Of course with people who have a track record of bad behavior it isn’t easy to instantly establish trust. But now a new website is helping connect sober people with a desire to live in a house build on sobriety. All over America recovering addicts and alcoholics have a recovery roommate website to link up with new living arrangements, specifically for clean living.
A new recovery roommate website is called MySoberRoommate.com. It just launched online this past June and it already changing how sober people everywhere find roommates. MySoberRoommate.com was created by addiction therapist Jesse Sandler, LCSW, who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. His partner, Dr. Emily Churg, was also a key contributor to its development. Sandler is based in Los Angeles, and in an interview he said he was inspired to create a website that overcomes addiction recovery stigma. There are sober social media apps, but this is another place where likeminded people in recovery can connect.
So how does this recovery roommate website actually work?
Well, via their page users (who no longer use) can search and connect with sober roommates. It serves both sides, so if you’re looking for a place to move or if you want to rent a room in your own place. So far, the website has already attracted nearly 1,000 members in just two months. And professionals in the recovery field are already seeing it gain traction among clients.
Filling the Space
Now that we touched on the ‘how’ we get to the ‘why’ of it. One aspect of the work Sandler does with his clients includes helping with the transition from inpatient rehab to a halfway house, then to their own place. When asked about the site Sandler said,
“I would sit with my clients in my office and we’d go on the Internet, and there was nothing out there like this. I was shocked to see that.”
The challenge with assisting with the transition from halfway house to a home is finding a roommate dedicated to sobriety. Sandler acknowledged that for many people, when they attend treatment they aren’t even in their home state anymore. Being out of town and on your own can make it difficult to connect with the local recovery community. So to add to that the intimacy of living with another person, finding a recovering roommate in the area can be very difficult.
“One of the most important components in maintaining sobriety is your living environment. When people in recovery move out of rehab or sober living facilities, the worst thing they can do is go back to the toxic living environments they were in before they got clean,”
Sandler told WestsideToday.com when discussing the importance of the recovery roommate website,
“The second worst thing is to live with people who are actively using. And the third is to live alone, which breeds isolation.”
He concluded, as many have before, that one of the best ways to improve the chances of staying sober is to surround yourself with people who are committed to recovery.
Moving In and Moving On
So far it appears the response to the recovery roommate website has been very good. Sandler stated,
“Several of my colleagues have reached out and told me that their clients used MySoberRoommate.com to successfully find a roommate,”
“We have received emails from several members telling us that they had a positive experience using the site.”
The MySoberRoommate team is currently trying to compile a catalog of stories about the “best bad experiences with a non-sober roommate” for an upcoming YouTube series. They are also planning to release the short video reenactments for these testimonials in the next few months. So moving on from just helping people connect, the minds behind this recovery roommate website are also trying to create creative and informative features online to help break the stigma and shed some light on how people in recovery really live.
The question becomes, who would use a recovery roommate website to find their next place? If you’re new in recovery, or been around a while and just ready to start fresh, would you use an option like this to find someone to live with?
When you find the right people to live with they can end up becoming some of your biggest supports in recovery. However, you also have to remember that not everyone in recovery will stay clean. Try to stick with people who are doing the right thing, especially at home. Establishing a strong foundation in sobriety is very important to building a future in sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call us toll-free. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The year is 2016, and pretty much everyone you know who is old enough to use a phone has one in their pocket that can play their favorite music, make credit card purchases with codes and scanners, and help them switch their face with someone else’s for a pretty awkward selfie. These digital devices have so much capacity with the infinitely expanding market of apps available to them, but could a new app save addicts when they overdose on drugs?
The Opiate Community
One major key to avoiding a fatal overdose is to never use alone, because too often an addict will use drugs while no one else is around to notice when they become incoherent and unconscious. Without someone present to revive an addict who overdoses the chances that they could die getting high… are pretty high. As the opiate epidemic in America has spiraled out of control for these past few years, there has actually been many shifts in mentality toward harm reduction tactics and users have actually created support communities specifically for active users.
The social media site Reddit has a subculture of its own in an open community under the designation “/r/opiates” where people with firsthand experience with opiate abuse and addiction share information. These individuals often offer each other safety tips, like the risks associated with use or even warnings of where more deadly batches of laced heroin are circulating.
Chris Oelerich, who is not actually a heroin user himself, decided to develop an app to try and prevent continued overdose deaths. In his process of designing the app he reached out to this Subreddit community and was given some useful information on how to make an effective app for opiate addicts.
The Remote Egg Timer App
Now I know this name sounds kind of random and no one would guess it was created to prevent drug overdose… but that is exactly the point. The Remote Egg Timer app title actually came from the opiates Subreddit, where one Redditor wrote,
“Can you call it a remote egg timer or some sh**? Call mom when the eggs are fried? References to your brain on drugs or some shit but don’t say anything about drugs?? This needs to be in place!!!!!!!!”
The app operates as a distress beacon of sorts, mixed with an alarm clock. The intention is that before the user actually uses they will set a timer. Once the timer is up the individual must push a button to indicate they are still responsive. If they do not respond to their time, the app will automatically send an emergency text message to a designating an emergency contact from their phone they have already set up.
When addicts are using such powerful drugs alone they are at a very serious risk, but this app hopes to support revival tactics such as naloxone expansion programs and otherwise give people a resource for quickly connecting with first responders. Similar apps have been released in the past few years for people who drink alcohol, designed to prevent drunk driving and other risk situations that arise while intoxicated.
Could It Work?
When Oelerich first put the concept for the app to the opiate users on Reddit, it was a well-received idea. While the app is by no means a perfect system and experiences a few bugs, most of the users so far have given the app positive reviews according to Oelerich. Currently the developer is trying to incorporate new ways for the app to be even more effective, such as:
- Feature to detect movement. This feature would trigger an emergency contact message if the phone has not moved for a while, which could also be a good indicator the user is unresponsive from an overdose.
- Feature in the works is to give the GPS coordinates of the user. When the alarm is not acknowledged and the distress signal goes out from the app, the text would somehow provide the users location so the best response can be properly timed.
So could an app like this work? Is it a fair assumption that while not all opiate and heroin addicts use in groups, they could have a better chance if another person was present during an overdose? Is it fair to say that if no one can be right there with them that they might have a better chance of getting the help they need with a resource that utilizes technology most people have?
Sure, not everyone has a smartphone. But for those who do, could an app like this make a difference? Would YOU use it for yourself or a loved one?
Technology helps us with a lot in our lives today. We constantly see new innovations that are making lives easier and safer, so what does technology have to offer for the addict who still suffers? Harm reduction is helping preserve life, and innovative and effective treatments help save lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Anyone remember ‘Big Brother’ from George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” watching over everything, monitoring every move and tracking and notes on the behaviors of citizens, all while tailor-making information to feed through propaganda with the intent on controlling the masses?
Yea… doesn’t sound as much like fiction as it used to considering conspiracy theories and real life controversy surrounding surveillance, but now-a-days the truth is we don’t need ‘Big Brother’ because social media and smartphones have taught us to willfully give away our thoughts and stay checked up and tuned on to our daily routines.
BUT… what if ‘Big Brother’ was a brewery, and used your information to sell you more alcohol?
BARTRENDr: App Measures Alcohol
Introducing the new app for your mobile device entitled BARTRENDr, an interesting piece of programming which tracks and analyzes your alcohol intake habits, just in case you were wondering how much alcohol you personally put away over time.
The app monitors a number of different aspects over extended time such as:
- How much alcohol you drink
- The type and brands of alcohol you consume
- The average time of consumption
- Which bars you frequent
Then at the end of a year, BARTRENDr compiles all this info into an annual report for the customer to read. One of the major payoff the makers use to market the tech is the insight into your drinking habits, which many have suggested could be useful for problem drinkers to keep track of their progress, or maybe even their alcoholism.
It is basically the opposite of a Fitbit.
One issue is that BARTRENDr doesn’t automatically log how much you drink; you have to do it yourself.
BARTRENDr: Alcohol Measures App
All this sounds like it could be somewhat useful for someone to ultimately take a look backward in hopes of determining how they can cutback and improve personal health, but is that the real reason it exists?
To be blunt… Nope!
Believe it or not the BARTRENDr app’s main focus is not to help you monitor your drinking or cutback; in fact, it was designed for the exact opposite.
The description is essentially a “social networking app for bar-goers,” like Facebook for drunks. This alcohol advocating app actually includes three sections:
The “Share” tab lets you log the atmosphere of a bar and the type of people. It’s also for snapping photos of the bar you’re in or what beverage you’re drinking.
Made to connect people to friends with the app or meeting new people who have the app
This tab helps you find other trending bars nearby
Seems innocent enough, right? Nothing wrong with drinkers staying connected, right?
Well it really comes down to a clever strategy for alcohol companies to both market and pull statistics, as all data is shared with alcohol companies to help them advertise their products. Co-founder and CEO Devon Bergman talked about BARTRENDr stating,
“We can look at what last week’s Corona drinker looks like. Whether they also drink shots. Or what percentage of their drinking was beer. We’re about helping the brands. The system is so archaic. They sell to the distributors, they sell to the bars or they sell to the consumer. They want to know the trends.”
In fact initially this information was for alcohol companies, but because so it became such a hit Bergman came up with the idea to share the reports with users.
Looking at the full picture, it seems keeping track of how much alcohol you drink and sharing the stats with the alcohol companies that stand to profit off your drinking might not sound very humanitarian, but then again it is a business of booze. The idea is perfect for them, because they get to capitalize off of the habitual drinker, and have a fast-track to finding the most effective ways to tempt them with ads and marketing.
So what about the alcoholic? Do they take into account the heavy drinker on the verge of collapse? Or do they just look at the lives at risk as numbers and fractions of dollar-signs?
Before you speculate that no one is buying this technology, in the last five months alone the app has received $1 million dollars in funding after being downloaded approximately 700,000 times. So while it doesn’t sound like it would be the most popular thing for people to keep tabs on was how much alcohol they drink by checking in on the phone, it seems enough people are influenced by the process to buy the product.
My question, is this helping the alcohol addicted individual? Not saying this app is a bad idea, it is genius for those who stand to make millions off of the sales of alcohol. Big Brother has effectively targeted the drinking American and uses the social media machine to manipulate his choices.
But what about the consumer being polled and prodded? Sure these powers could be used for good as far as a reality check at the end of a 365 day binder, but is subliminal crowd-sourcing and fixing the market influencing the wrong choices for the wrong people?
Alcoholism is a tricky disease, and there are constantly new temptations and triggers for those who just don’t know how to stop drinking. The answers to getting help are not always cut and dry, but there is real help from people who have seen it and lived it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135