best sobriety counter app

New to Drinker's Helper: Profiles, Matches, and Programs, oh my!

We wanted to share a bit more context on some recent updates we’ve made to Drinker’s Helper, the companion app for people who are cutting back or quitting drinking.

There are three new things you’ve probably noticed if you’ve gone into the latest version of the app:

  1. Profiles: a simple, anonymous profile to introduce yourself to your Group

  2. Matches: introductions to others in your Group who share similar specific challenges

  3. Programs: organized courses of exercises

So why did we make these changes? Well, it’s all about what’s right for you (figuratively speaking).

We believe that being understood is critical in getting meaningful support. While in some broad sense everyone using Drinker’s Helper is trying to do the same thing (cut back or quit drinking), in another sense each person’s challenge is quite unique.

For example, some people work as bartenders, or in the wine industry. Wow. That’s a hard one. Imagine how hard it is cutting back or quitting drinking when you’re surrounded by the stuff and constantly offered free drinks!

Some people are better suited to supporting one another because they have specific challenges like that in common and can share tips. But there are more basic examples, too. Someone who primarily drinks when celebrating with their hard-partying social circle is going to have a harder time connecting with someone who primarily drinks at home alone when feeling depressed.

That’s why we created both Profiles and Matches - to help you meet people in your Group who can offer the right support to you based on what you’re dealing with. We hope you make deeper, faster connections as a result of talking with your Matches.

The same simple core insight led us to create Programs: that each of us has unique challenges in cutting back or quitting drinking. There are over 100 exercises in the Drinker’s Helper library, and it is important that we pick the right ones for you based on the support you need.

Some people need to shore up their motivation to change their drinking; others are plenty motivated and simply need some mental tricks to change how they think about alcohol. Programs allow us to tailor a set of courses to your situation.

We hope you give Profiles, Matches and Programs a try in the Drinker’s Helper app!

A mockup of a Match

A mockup of a Match

Book review: The 30 Day Sobriety Solution

Ok, so this isn’t exactly a book review, but we wanted to share what we thought after reading The 30-Day Sobriety Solution (available on Amazon). It’s a book that also has complementary online courses (see here), and it promises to help people achieve sobriety or healthy moderation in 30 to 90 days (depending on your preferences).

Overall, there’s a lot to like about this approach, so we thought we’d share it with you.

Here are some of the things we think are great:

  1. They acknowledge the importance of changing your unconscious thinking. This is also one of the cornerstones of our favorite sobriety book, This Naked Mind. The chief reason so many of us fail to stay sober or stay within moderation limits is, simply that we aren’t 100% sure sobriety will give us what we need. We have a lifetime of unconscious cues about how great alcohol is to undo in order to change our minds about alcohol. That’s why in Drinker’s Helper, our moderation app, we have a set of exercises on rethinking what alcohol is really doing in our lives.

  2. They understand that sobriety is more than just not drinking. By far the bulk of what you’ll find if you read the book (which we highly recommend) are exercises to build a more meaningful, happier life. We believe, as they do, that drinking is but a symptom of the problem(s). Thus, you’ll need more than simple tricks & tips to stop drinking (or cut way back). You have to change the underlying thought processes that lead you to see drinking as a solution to any problem. That’s why our library of over 75 exercises includes everything from dealing with urges to drink to dealing with anxious thoughts.

  3. They believe in the benefits of repetition. The 30-Day Sobriety Solution repeats several conepts throughout the book in different ways. Exercises build on one another. But also, people are advised to repeat their visions and affirmations daily to achieve results. We also believe in the importance of repetition for lessons to sink in. Part of why we created Drinker’s Helper as a quit drinking app (instead of an in-person class, for example) is that it can be with you anytime, anywhere. We also put a toolbox in our app for you to save your favorite exercises for quick access. These are intended to be repeated as you continue using the app and encounter urges to drink.

  4. They know that testing the waters isn’t a full backslide. Drinker’s Helper is both a quit drinking and a moderate drinking app. We support you regardless of the goal you choose, and believe that both can work. The writers of The 30-Day Sobriety Solution also acknowledge that you might want to test the waters with one or two drinks after a period of sobriety to see if you’ve achieved a healthier relationship with alcohol, and that doesn’t mean you’ve had a backslide into problem drinking unless other troubling thoughts have crept back up.

Here are some of the places (we think) we differ:

  1. We place more emphasis on understanding why you drink. There are parts of their book that do ask about why you drink, but it’s not a core emphasis. While we know that too much introspective navel-gazing isn’t helpful, we think some amount of considering what your triggers and underlying thoughts are is extremely helpful in figuring out what changes you have to make to get better.

  2. We don’t place as much emphasis on positivity. While we do see tremendous value in positive thinking, we also know that life can be cruel and unfair sometimes in ways that positive thinking can’t fix. Visualizing success is a powerful technique, but not a panacea. It’s ok to feel shitty sometimes, in short. Too much positive thinking can be exhausting. Which leads to…

  3. It’s a bit much all at once. We think 90 days might be the best way to try The 30-Day Sobriety Solution. It packs quite a lot into a short amount of time. When we quit drinking, we made that one monumental change on its own. We had also gone vegan a year earlier, and we moved 6 months or so later, and we started a new exercise routine nine months later, but we didn’t try all of that once. The 30-Day Sobriety Solution includes a suite of exercises that seem designed to truly change many aspects of your life (as does the exercise suite in Drinker’s Helper), but our caution with both systems is: be careful of fatigue and make incremental improvements over time.

If you’ve decided to quit drinking (or cut back), we’d love to help. Try out Drinker’s Helper at the link below!

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The types of support an app can provide

We’ve written in the past about some other sobriety apps that we think can be helpful to people trying to quit or cut back on drinking, so check that post out too!

This time, we wanted to share some more detail about how we see this world of sobriety and moderation apps. This can help you decide what might make the most sense for you, given the goal you have and the kind of support you want. These apps all have different costs (some are free; some are not).

The types of apps we see as being potentially helpful to some looking to quit or cut back on drinking were:

  1. Not strictly sobriety: These apps help to address the anxiety and depression that can come with drinking to excess.

  2. Sobriety tracking and drink tracking: These are two sides of the same coin, where one helps people to track the amount of time they’ve been sober, and one helps people track their drinking to stick with a moderation goal. Often, these apps help build motivation by tracking money saved or other health benefits of sobriety or moderation, or offering motivational quotes.

  3. Sober community: These are apps that help people get live support from peers who are also trying to stick with sobriety.

  4. Additional sobriety or moderation support: There are another suite of apps that go beyond tracking (and motivational stats) to offer community support as well as exercises or games to help people stick with their goals. Some focus solely on sobriety goals, while others, like Drinker’s Helper, are intended to help people with either sobriety or moderation goals.

How do you see the world of apps? Let us know if there’s another type of app you see as being particularly helpful to you!

The world of sobriety and moderation apps

The world of sobriety and moderation apps

How support groups can help you quit or cut back on drinking

Alcoholics Anonymous, the most prominent organization dedicated to helping people quit drinking, is known for its support groups where people share their stories of recovery and collect sobriety coins to indicate the passage of time in recovery. Many secular organizations do the same, with the core of their program as a support group. But why do they do this? What is the value of a support group?

There is ample proof that social support can help people with recovery from alcohol addiction. Here is what support groups do for people who are quitting or cutting back on drinking.

  1. Let them know they’re not alone. One of the reasons peer support groups in particular can help people quit or cut back is that people suddenly see themselves as part of a community. If you’re not alone, your challenges are normal, you can be understood, and you can be supported in the way you need.

  2. Encourage them with success stories. If you’re in a group with people who’ve completely gotten sober (like an AA sponsor), you can see that sobriety is possible. But even short of that, you can get meaningful encouragement from hearing from others who got through an urge to drink without giving in.

  3. Helps them stay happy. Social support has been shown in multiple studies to significantly help people counteract depression when they were dealing with alcohol abuse disorder.

  4. Giving them a sense of purpose. One study of Gamblers Anonymous showed a positive impact on chances of recovery from people providing support to others, rather than receiving support. When people in the group helped others, it presumably reinforced their belief in the importance of recovery.

Knowing how important support groups can be, we knew we had to do more than just offer helpful exercises, tracking, and insights in our app, if we wanted to really help people quit or cut back on drinking. That’s why every member in Drinker’s Helper has a group to talk to.

Here’s how support groups work in Drinker’s Helper:

  1. You are grouped with similar people: You’re matched with others based on having similar drinking habits. Our quiz splits people into four groups based on their past drinking levels as well as the level of dependence or abuse of alcohol that is evident from answering the questions. People who show higher or lower levels of abuse or dependence are grouped together, so that people can offer each other advice and support from a place of empathy and understanding.

  2. You are prompted to share: There are weekly prompts to inspire discussion, introducing such topics as highs and lows of the week, or things you’re proud of along the way. There are also individual prompts available if you tap the Drinker’s Helper icon if you’re not sure what to say.

If you’re interested, you can try out Drinker’s Helper free for a week, and meet your support group!