Many wonderful benefits are built into technology, and relapse prevention is one of them. Before digital technology became available to mainstream America, recovering addicts were limited in who they could share their recoveries with. Their options included individuals in their 12-step meetings and therapy sessions. Unless a recovering addict had a friend or acquaintance they could relate to, they were generally isolated from other recovering addicts.
As we moved into the 21st century and more people started getting tablets and smartphones and wearable devices, being connected to the internet became second nature. This connectivity has become a powerful tool in relapse prevention.
Relapse Prevention Tools
There are a number of options available to assist recovering addicts in their recoveries. Let’s look at a few examples.
- Online Forums – Online addiction forums are designed to bring together similar or like-minded individuals. In this instance, recovering addicts from all stages of the recovery process can swap stories, share experiences and provide support. It reminds people that they are not alone in their recoveries.
- Sobriety Apps – There are a number of sobriety apps that can be downloaded to any device. Some of the things that users can do from these apps are track their moods, read motivational quotes and connect to real sponsors.
- Educational Websites – Addiction is losing some of its stigma, but some people still view it as a character flaw rather than a progressive disease. Education is vital if we want to help recovering addicts and their families move forward in the treatment process.
- Support Groups – Not everyone is able to attend their self-help groups as intended. They may not have transportation, or they may reside in a rural area. With online support groups, recovering addicts can take part in the 12 steps without having anything stand in their way.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Of course, technology does have its concerns. There are two sides to everything, and technology is no exception. Valid concerns exist around social media and its ability to drive drug and alcohol use. Teens, in particular, are impressionable. One study found that 70 percent of teens, ages 12-17, who spent time on social media each day were five times more likely to abuse tobacco, three times more likely to abuse alcohol and twice as likely to abuse drugs as their peers.
In the end, it’s important to recognize technology for what it is. It has many advantages, and it can help break down the barriers that recovering addicts once faced in getting the help they needed. On the same token, everything in moderation. Spending significant time online can have negative effects and can even encourage a recovering addict to swap one addiction for another.
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