What is Drinker's Helper?

Drinker's Helper is an iOS app that helps people who have decided to quit drinking or cut back on drinking

Note: we have NOT built an Android version of the app yet. If you see one floating around, it is not from us, and may be malware.

How does this work? 

You can do a lot of things with the Drinker's Helper app:

  1. Set a drinking goal and track your drinking AND your urges to drink. You can also start a Pledge to stay sober for a set number of days.

  2. Learn new mental tricks to resist urges to drink in the “Library” tab, and visit your “Toolbox” to re-do your favorite exercises

  3. Visit the “Insights” tab to see your progress, compare your drinking to others’, and review your past drinking patterns

  4. Chat with your “Group” of people with similar past drinking habits to get and give support and advice

What do you believe about drinking?

  1. We believe that alcohol is an addictive drug, and anyone can become addicted if they drink above a certain level

  2. We believe that moderation can be a very helpful stepping stone toward quitting, and that for many people, telling them they must quit cold turkey makes them less likely to take the smaller positive step of cutting back

  3. We believe that every person has to convince themselves to stop drinking; there is no convincing someone else

  4. We believe that you have to stop drinking in your own life, in your normal circumstances, because removing the temptation is only a temporary solution

  5. We believe in a no-judgment approach, because judgment only encourages more drinking

How does tracking work?

In Drinker’s Helper, you can track your drinking and urges to drink. If you are cutting back rather than quitting, we will help you to set your goal (based on low risk drinking limits) and track how you’re doing against that goal each week. We can also help you realize why you drink, by tracking the typical circumstances that lead you to drink.

You can also make a short-term pledge to stay sober for a certain number of days, and we will help you track completion of that pledge.

You can get an idea of your longer-term progress by looking at the Insights tab. There, we show data on your drinking, your urges to drink, and your progress toward your goals.

How do groups work?

Your Group is a place to get empathy and understanding from others in the same situation, share tips and advice based on what has worked for you in the past, and encourage one another to make progress. Group chats are unmoderated, made up only of comments from other users.

Our goal with the Group is to help you find the right people to support you. We match you with people in your Group based on having similar answers to the introductory questions about your drinking history. We also introduce you to people in your Group who share your challenges and motivations - your “Matches” - so you can make deeper connections more quickly.

What is the exercise content based on?

The exercises in the Drinker's Helper app are drawn from two evidence-based therapies for treating alcohol use disorders - cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy. Each of these therapies (on its own) was shown in a study by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to be as effective in reducing alcohol consumption as the 12-step facilitation in alcoholics anonymous. Using both together, we believe that Drinker’s Helper can meaningfully help people who want to quit drinking or reduce their drinking.

when am I talking to a bot?

When you answer the introductory questions to get matched to your Group, and when you do exercises on the Library and Toolbox tabs, you are talking to the Drinker’s Helper chat bot. It is not an intelligent bot, as you’ll see if you attempt to engage it that way; it cannot understand unstructured conversation, but instead gives a programmed set of responses. It’s like reading a book, only in a chat format.

When you join your Group, you are talking to other people who’ve also signed up for Drinker’s Helper. We do not insert bots into Groups.

As a further clarification: there is no bot, anywhere in the world, that is known to pass the Turing test of convincingly sounding like a human being. We certainly do not have that capability, as you’ll see when you do exercises. It is a chat bot, but not an intelligent one :).

Who is it good for?

Drinker's Helper is intended as support for anyone who is working on drinking less or quitting drinking, who has mild or moderate problems with alcohol. It is not intended in any case to be a substitute for medical care. 

Should I do this instead of going to a rehab facility or a therapist?

In short, no. If your problems caused by drinking are serious enough that you are considering residential rehab or going to an addiction therapist, you could  consider using Drinker's Helper as an aid after your formal treatment ends, or  using it in addition to your core treatment program. If you are looking for an addiction therapist, we recommend searching in Psychology Today here, or look for doctors or inpatient programs here.

What does it cost?

We offer a one week free trial, and if at that point you are seeing value in Drinker's Helper, we hope you will subscribe for $9.99-$14.99 a month (depending on subscription duration) to help keep us in business. If you decide you don’t want it anymore, you can cancel by following Apple’s standard process here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202039