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If You're Ready to Stop Drinking Alcohol, Apps can Help

There's support out there even if you can't meet in person

Chris Oritz Staff Reporter
4 min read

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As a society, we have unfortunately taught ourselves to turn to alcohol for temporary relief from tough emotions.
- Leslie Anne Georgatos, co-founder of Drinker’s Help

With most Americans facing some level of COVID-19 lockdown these days, alcohol sales are on the rise.

Alcoholic beverage sales in the US rose 55% near the end of March, reports the Associated Press, just as stay-at-home orders were being issued by governors. Hard liquor sales spiked 75% compared to this time last year. Wine sales rose 66% while beer sales increased by 42%.

This increase in alcohol sales indicates it can be tough for those who know they either have a problem with alcohol or are just trying to cut back. And the inability to attend meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous in person can make it even harder to keep sobriety goals during stressful times.

Meetings Help Sobriety Become Possible

Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings help people stay sober even more than therapy. That’s what a Stanford School of Medicine researcher found. The Stanford analysis looked at the outcomes of 10,080 participants and found that AA was nearly always more effective than psychotherapy when trying to become sober.

“AA works because it’s based on social interaction,” said Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. “If you want to change your behavior, find some other people who are trying to make the same change.”

With that being said, how do you participate in AA when meetings of more than 10 or even 5 people are prohibited in most states?

Bring the Meetings Home to You

The AA Speakers app brings meetings right to your home. With over 300 different speakers to listen to, the app can help people who are trying to cut alcohol but are stuck at home. The app includes speakers from as far back as the 1960s, providing an entire library of inspiring content to support people trying to achieve sobriety.

In addition, the AA organization is making digital meetings available to members using digital platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. AA said it is more than just a “place” and can help members through keeping in touch through contact lists, email, and social media.

Peer Support Can be the Key

Beyond AA, there are other apps that can offer peer support to help people quit alcohol.

Drinker's Helper is an app that helps users set a drinking goal or sets a sobriety counter to track your sober streak. The app includes exercises to help users to resist alcohol and build motivation to make changes.

Leslie Anne Georgatos, co-founder of Drinker’s Help, said her team discovered that many people knew they were drinking too much but didn’t have the support or the structure they needed to change. Georgatos said the app helps users quit drinking in three ways: providing a high-quality peer support system, enabling you to see the role alcohol plays in your life and teaches strategies to build motivation to change and defeat the urge to drink.

“Because Drinker’s Helper is anonymous, you can share freely, and because you are matched into a support group with similar drinkers, you can get meaningful advice from people who understand your situation,” she said. “The tracking system in our app is designed to help you conduct your personal cost-benefit analysis regarding drinking. No one will do a better job of convincing you to change than you. Our library of exercises, drawn from evidence-based therapies, teaches new skills to help you control your drinking in 5 minutes or less.”

Since the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic forced most Americans to stay home, Georgatos said users become more engaged than ever before.

“This disease, the lockdowns, and their economic consequences have combined to create real fear and hopelessness for a lot of people,” she said. “As a society, we have unfortunately taught ourselves to turn to alcohol for temporary relief from tough emotions. We see it as an important job for apps like ours to help people find other, healthier ways to cope.”

Many Options for Getting or Staying Sober

There are plenty of options out there to help remain sober or start the journey to sobriety.

Quit Drinking is a meditation app designed for people who are on that journey to sobriety. The recordings available on the app aim to uplift and empower you to break habits and think clearly, relying on your natural body to cope with life’s struggles.

In addition, another app that might be helpful is Sober Time. With Sober Time, you can see how many days you’ve been sober, down to the hours and seconds. The app can also show you how much you would be spending on alcohol on average, and it also displays achievements, like when you’ve reached a week, month, or even a year of sobriety.

Indeed, everyone can use a little extra help, especially in these trying times. 

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If You're Ready to Stop Drinking Alcohol, Apps can Help