There are tons of health crazes out there, but “Dry January” might be one of the healthiest ones yet!
Of course, abstaining from alcohol for one month only might not do that much for your health in the long run, but it’s an admirable goal nonetheless – especially if you keep it up throughout the rest of the year.
If you want some inspiration to keep your Dry January going strong, or if you’re trying to quit drinking alcohol altogether, check out these 15 websites and mobile apps that can help you meet your sobriety goals.
Rethinking Drinking (Website, Free)
Acting as a repository of information, Rethinking Drinking is a website made possible by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Perfect for individuals who want to learn if they typically drink too much or too often, Rethinking Drinking offers handy calculators, strategies, and support.
With the site’s cocktail content calculator, you’re able to input your drinks’ information and keep better track of how much alcohol you’re consuming. This is a great way to prevent drinking passively and over-consuming alcohol, especially for those of us who are “social drinkers.”
Additionally, the site offers a “Planning for change” feature that allows you to list out your specific goals and either print or email them to yourself so you can stay motivated after leaving the site. You can also download and print “Drink tracker cards” that will help you manage your drinking everywhere you go, even if you don’t have an online device with you.
Free to access and use, Rethinking Drinking is a valuable resource whether you’ve decided to quit drinking altogether or simply want a strong finish for your Dry January.
Twenty Four Hours A Day (iOS & Android, $4.99)
Designed for individuals who like the 12-Step format, Twenty-Four Hours a Day is an information-packed app featuring daily thoughts and meditative prayers to help you resist the times when you’d like a drink. While this app is likely to be more helpful to people seeking recovery from a serious alcohol problem, the casual drinker could certainly find many uses for it as well.
The app sends a new, sober-living message to your phone each day, but it also offers a search function so you can look up motivational phrases whenever you want. Plus, if you’re suddenly in need of some anti-alcohol inspiration, simply shake your mobile device and the app will send a random sobriety message to your screen.
The Fix (Website, Free)
Presenting a new take on addiction information, The Fix is an online magazine and resource center for individuals in recovery, as well as people who want to learn more about alcohol and its abuse.
The Fix offers a mix of entertainment, news and treatment center reviews, in addition to inspirational stories and changes in treatment models. Uniquely, The Fix features an “Ask the Expert” section, which allows anonymous users to pose complicated questions about addiction or the recovery process and have them answered by professionals.
Additionally, The Fix has a wide social media presence, so you can engage with fellow followers and be a part of the site’s many drug and alcohol discussions and news updates. Or, if you have a personal story relating to alcohol or drugs, you can share it with the Fix’s editors.
AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker (Android, Free)
One of the top sobriety apps of 2014, AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker combines individual data with powerful visualization technology to graph and monitor your alcohol consumption. This customizable app records recovery goals, charts your progress and features a blood alcohol concentration calculator.
Included in the native app is a daily drink diary, which encourages users to track drinking habits and identify trends. You can also share your progress and successes with your friends via the app’s social media features.
Best Rehab Center (Website, Free)
Like the Twenty Four Hours a Day app above, this website would likely be most useful to someone who has a serious drinking problem. However, if you want some additional facts, testimonials or articles to inspire your continued Dry January, you can find all of those things here, as well.
If you’re having some trouble enjoying your Dry January because you have friends who aren’t participating in the event, you can check out the site’s guide to sober activities (or simply find some new friends who share your interests). If you’re a college student abstaining from alcohol, you can also participate in Best Rehab Center’s essay contest to win $500 in scholarship money.
Note that while using the website is free, rehab is not. If you want information about actually attending rehab, you can reference the insurance or contact pages.
iDrinkSmarter (Android, Free)
A free app for both iOS and Android devices, iDrinkSmarter is designed for individuals who want to reduce alcohol consumption for Dry January or otherwise. The app includes a sobriety tracker, drink tracker, and BAC calculator to gauge your level of intoxication.
Perhaps the most beneficial feature of this app is its “buzzkill” alarm, which indicates to you and your buddies when it’s time to cut back by issuing a visual or audio message when nearing your limit.
According to this Telegraph article, drinking too much in February is a common problem for Dry January participants, so this app could be a good post-January safety tool to keep on your phone.
Hazelden (Website, Free)
A member of the Betty Ford Foundation, Hazelden’s digital collection of recovery resources is a valuable addition to your other support tools and apps. Accessible via free registration, Hazelden’s resources include peer support communities, podcasts and a digital magazine.
You can also reach out to peers locally or internationally with iCare cards or eMedallions, as well as check out the latest addiction research. The site also features a thought, meditation and prayer for each day, so you can get some light inspiration if that’s all you need.
Additionally, the site offers a plethora of mobile applications for both iOS and Android, one of which is the Twenty Four Hours a Day app mentioned earlier. Essentially, this site is a one-stop resource to direct you further into sobriety, be it until the end of January or for life.
My Daily Journal [No Longer Available]
Tracking your progress and thoughts throughout Dry January is one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated. My Daily Journal for iPhone and iPad is a clean, user-friendly journal in which to write your thoughts, record struggles and keep photos, if you so choose.
Featuring automated backups to Dropbox and the option to add more journals (for an additional fee of $0.99-$4.99), My Daily Journal can help anyone abstaining from alcohol keep track of their alcohol-free month (or months). Included social sharing functions enable quick and easy publishing of journal entries you’d like to share, while passwords keep your more personal entries safe from prying eyes.
Check Your Drinking (Website, Free)
Whether assessing personal alcohol consumption or that of a friend’s, Check Your Drinking provides a rapid evaluation of alcohol use and norms based on personal consumption data. Note, however, that while taking the quiz is free, it does require consent for anonymous data entered to be collected and analyzed for research purposes.
Check Your Drinking drafts a graphical report of your alcohol use compared to individuals in your age group, which can help you understand if your drinking behaviors in a normal month are average or otherwise. Other eye-opening statistics include your average yearly spending on alcohol, daily calories consumed from alcohol and an overview of your drinking patterns.
If you’re wondering if Dry January is actually making a difference for you, try calculating how much you drink in a normal month and then how much you drank in Dry January.
DrinkControl (iOS, $4.99)
Understanding moderation (and how many drinks are too many) is difficult unless you have bartending experience. Often, it’s difficult to know how many ounces of alcohol per drink type (liquor, beer, wine, etc.) are in your drink, particularly if it’s mixed. If you’re considering cutting back on alcohol even after Dry January, this could be a good app for you.
DrinkControl keeps you on track with sobriety and moderation goals through its calendar and statistical reporting function. Easily add drinks consumed and their respective costs to the app, which then calculates alcohol content and total alcohol spend. Combined, these features help keep you accountable for your drinking habits and aware of the monetary consequences of heavy drinking.
For whatever reason, GooglePlay lists the app as being free, while iTunes charges $4.99 for it. Therefore, iOS users might want to consider one of the other apps or websites listed here instead.
Recoverize (Website, Free)
Recoverize is a unique web application that allows you to easily track how many days you’ve gone without a drink, interact with peers via chat boards and practice meditation if you so choose.
Unlike other peer networking tools, Recoverize features a daily speaker via online audio and includes an audio library of past “speaker tapes” if you want to listen to multiple daily speakers in a single day.
The site’s digital magazine, Sober Times, and unique meditation mode set it apart from similar websites. In meditation mode, users listen to calming sounds while watching breathtaking imagery, inducing a meditative state for those who need to Zen out and ignore drink cravings.
Recoverize does not currently offer premium features; however, meditation mode is accessible with or without a free account. If you want to learn more about meditation, check out these meditation tools and resources.
AA Speakers To Go (iOS, $4.99) [No Longer Available]
Attending an AA meeting can be both motivational and inspirational, largely due to the speakers there. AA Speakers To Go is a helpful sobriety app for those who can’t always make it to an AA meeting, or who aren’t serious alcoholics. Containing a mix of humorous, heart-wrenching and enlightening speeches, this app is a great motivator for Dry January or for staying sober in general.
Featuring more than 400 “Speaker Tapes” and more than 500 hours of audio and a diverse assortment of speakers, AA Speakers To Go allows users to sort speakers by name or rating and save a favorites list for easy reference. You can also search for your state to find speakers from your area.
Additional options, like presentations and workshops, can be purchased within the app for a fee (from $2.99-$9.99).
Meeting Finder [No Longer Available]
This app locates 12 Step meetings both in your local area and across the U.S. It covers the top 12 Step programs like AA and Narcotics Anonymous, and lets you search for meetings based on specific preferences like women only, men only, open meetings, etc.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll need this app for Dry January, it could help you see what the life and reasons behind a completely sober person are. If there are local, open meetings available in your area, you might consider popping in and learning more about why attendees chose to give up alcohol. One handy feature of this app is that it includes a map and directions for how to get to each meeting. (Check out this article for some other ways to meet new people.)
If checking out a 12 Step meeting isn’t something you’re interested in, you can also benefit from the app’s daily meditations.
Addiction Survivors (Website, Free)
If personal stories are what motivate you best, Addiction Survivors may be just what you need to finish out Dry January successfully.
The site is essentially a categorized discussion forum, with a section specifically on alcoholism and alcohol abstinence. These forums are meant to be a supportive community for people who struggle with drinking, or have friends and family who do.
Check out the Friends and Family thread if you want to read a wide variety of personal accounts, questions and supportive answers to help you stay away from booze.
Saying When (iOS, Free)
Developed by Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Saying When is a free app that assists users in creating a recovery plan and sticking to it. Though not available for Android devices yet, the app is based on clinical outcomes and designed to be results-driven.
The app’s clean, user-friendly interface is packed with helpful features, such as an urge-tracking feature and a coping skills manual. After filling out a quick self-assessment and creating personalized goals, users are reminded not to drink, can view goal progress and track alcohol consumption.
In terms of staying sober for the rest of January, this app is useful in that it helps you understand why you drink, and the times when you’re most vulnerable to it. As a result, you know when to ‘say when’ and can better manage your drinking – and the reasons behind it.
The Future of Sobriety Technology
These 15 digital resources are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sobriety aids. A-CHESS, an app designed to help users abstain from alcohol use, is the first of its kind to undergo clinical trials and could offer a preview of recovery technology to come.
Though still in development, A-CHESS has helped achieve surprising results with over 50% of users abstaining from alcohol for at least 12 months. Uniquely, the app features an emergency button that immediately links the user to a friend or provides distractions to prevent relapse. For now, developers are still testing the app and hope to make it available for both Android and iOS devices.
If you could create a recovery app tomorrow, which features would you include?
Image Credit: Viktor Hanacek