Many of us have our cell phones with us all day long, some of us sit in front of computers all day, and all of us interact with technology regularly. We can get distracted by all of the digital activity going on, but we can also use technology to our advantage in recovery. From mobile apps to online communities, there are benefits to the evolution of connection. We’ve found that modern technology has helped us connect with others and not be alone in times of need. Here are a few different ways that you can use technology in your own recovery.
Easily Connect in Times of Need
This is perhaps the most basic way we can use modern technology to help us in our recovery. Many of us take it for granted that we have mobile devices with us that can text, make calls, or even video chat. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, experiencing a craving, or lonely, reach out to someone! Your cell phone can be a great tool, and it’s up to you to choose how to use it. When I was newly sober, my sponsor in a twelve-step group had me call three people a day: one person that was more newly sober than I, one friend who had a similar amount of clean time, and somebody with more experience in recovery than I had.
You can use your phone to reach out when you need help, or use your phone to reach out to others. The phone can become a method of isolation and avoidance, but we also have the opportunity to use it to connect with others via phone. Regardless of your path to recovery, you don’t have to go it alone! Many experts such as SAMHSA, the Institute of Medicine, and the U.S. Surgeon General agree that social support is important in recovery. Use the most basic app on your mobile device, the telephone!
Apps for Recovery, Meditation, and Self-Help
Sticking with your mobile device, there are other opportunities to connect. Searching any app store, you’ll find a ton of apps that can be of benefit. There are apps that count days of sobriety, apps that offer inspirational thoughts for the day, and apps to connect with others in recovery. Whether it’s an app that you use yourself to track your progress or it’s an app to connect with others, you can find what’s useful to you and leave the rest.
In addition to direct recovery apps like InTheRooms or the 12 Steps AA Companion, you can find apps with inspirational quotes like Inspirational Quotes Daily or Daily Motivational Quotes App. Sometimes, these little pick-me-ups can help us throughout our days. If you’re a meditator, Insight Timer is a great app with guided meditations to find new teachers and build a community. One of my personal favorite apps is MetaFi, a relatively new app which encourages me to check in with emotions and thoughts. Whatever your preference is, you may use the apps on your phone to help keep your mind geared toward recovery and health.
Whether you’re new to recovery, traveling, or just looking for new meetings, technology allows us to always find a place to go. There are several apps for finding different twelve-step meetings, and many websites for finding twelve-step groups, SMART meetings, Refuge Recovery meetings, and more. We use this when we travel, finding new meetings and places to go. With the help of technology, you can plan out your meetings before you travel or find one on the go.
Chances are that you have your cell phone near you most of the day. If you’re like me, you’re also near your computer for a large portion of the day as well. Setting reminders can be a great way to return to what’s important. I set reminders on both my phone and my computer to pop up throughout my day with messages like, “Pause and take a deep breath” and “How are you being of service?” These little reminders during the day help me return to my recovery and my spiritual practice.
This is a great example of using technology to help us return to our priorities. By setting a regular reminder, you can utilize your electronics and have them serve as a method of helping you tune into your recovery. We so often get lost in autopilot or get caught up in a moment and forget about the principles we are trying to practice. These reminders that come up on my phone and computer really trigger a realization that my recovery is important to me.
Online Meetings and Communities
Finally, if you’re unable to get out to a meeting or simply don’t want to attend, you can always find ways to connect with people online. There are many groups on popular social media sites like Facebook and Google+ where you can connect with other people. You can find sepcific groups such as twelve-step atheists or adult children of alcoholics. You can also find general Alcoholics Anonymous, Refuge Recovery, SMART, Celebrate, or just general recovery groups. Although not the same as interacting in person with others in recovery, this can be a great supplement to your program.
There are also sites and organizations that offer online meetings. InTheRooms has regular meetings of various twelve-step groups including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, and more. They also have a SMART meeting and a Refuge Recovery meeting every week. You can tune in and join the conversation right from your own home!
These are just a few ways you can utilize technology in your recovery. In my personal experience, texting with a friend or attending an online meeting does not substitute for real in-person interaction with people. Rather than seeing these tips as a way to recover by themselves, perhaps we can view them as a way to add to our existing program!