App Provides Safe, Accessible Recovery Social Media

By The Fix staff 05/12/21

Better aims to bridge gaps in recovery by creating a community that works for everyone.

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BETTER App merges harm reduction with the recovery community.

When Giuseppe Ganci looks at the community of people touched by substance use disorder, he sees too many divides. There are the people who are still actively using, separated from people who are sober and in recovery. The people who practice abstinence or 12 steps are separated from people who take a harm reduction approach.

Ganci wants to bring them all together. That’s why he developed Better, an app designed to support people whose lives have been touched by addiction.

“We want individuals who are using drugs and those who are in recovery to have a platform to work together on improving their connection to their community,” says Ganci, who is the project manager for Better, and director of community development for Last Door Recovery Society. Better is a social enterprise of Last Door.

Using the features of Better, people can support their recovery and overall wellness. The features of Better include:

My Recovery Wall

The recovery wall is a key feature of Better. It’s designed to let people celebrate all aspects of their recovery, even those that are hard to face.

“This is a safe space for people to post about their recovery journeys,” Ganci says. Some aspects of recovery — like fear of relapse — might not be suitable for posting on Facebook or other mainstream media. Better’s Recovery Wall gives people space to make those posts and get support.

It’s also a space for people, including professionals, who can’t be open about their recovery on other social media. It’s also more positive — rather than doom scrolling Facebook, people can see posts and inspiration about recovery.

Safety Net

One of the most unique aspects of Better is Safety Net. Safety Net is a global overdose prevention tool. People who are using drugs alone can share their location with someone else on the app. Their safety net partner can activate an alarm. If the person using doesn’t turn the alarm off, it may be an indication of an overdose. The volunteer can call emergency services for them, since they know the person’s direct location.Better App

“This is a way to make a bridge so that people who are in recovery can support people who are still using,” Ganci says.

My Recovery Capital Score

This aspect of Better allows people to gamify their recovery, providing some extra motivation. Users can earn recovery capital by doing things like attending digital meetings, journaling or posting on the Recovery Wall.

Since Recovery Capital Scores are public, this is another way of building community.

“Your friends will know if your points are going down,” says Ganci. “It’s going to help people reach out to people when they need help.”

Marketplace

Marketplace allows people in recovery to support other people in the recovery community.

“There’s no charge, users can put businesses up for free,” Ganci says.

Marketplace also lets people search for sober roommates, and sell or donate items to people who are newly in recovery.

“It’s always a struggle being a newcomer," Ganci says.

My Recovery Plan

My Recovery Plan is a one-stop shop for keeping track of your short-term and long-term goals, and tracking your progress.

Support Circles

Support Circles allow group chats for step groups, friend networks, or even alumni groups for treatment centers.

People Nearby and LGBTQ Support

These features allow people to search for people in recovery when they’re traveling. They can make new friends and ask about the local recovery community. The LGBTQ2s Support allows people to connect with people in recovery who have shared values and lifestyles.

Recovery Celebrations

Recovery Celebrations allows you to congratulate people who are celebrating recovery milestones that day, as well as sharing your own accomplishments.

Speaker Tapes and Coaching

Users have access to over 15,000 speaker tapes. The “Higher Power” option allows the app to auto play what you need to hear in that moment. Coaching allows people to connect directly with a recovery coach.

Meetings

This section allows people to connect with their home meeting, without friending or following people on mainstream social media to do so.

“It takes away the whole barriers to access in a meeting,” Ganci says.

Step Work

Step work features personal growth virtual exercises, decision-making guidance, 12-step exercises to help you live in the solution, and a daily journal.

After 13 years in recovery himself and years of working in the recovery industry, Ganci is excited about launching an app that will help more people thrive in recovery, as well as helping others stay safe until they’re ready to change their habits around drugs and alcohol.

“I can see how social media has helped recovery become normal, but I also see how not everyone can participate in that conversation about recovery,” he said. Better provides a solution. “It’s all about making recovery attractive. The days of the abstinence community sitting on one side of the room and harm reduction people on the other side of the room are over.”

To download the Better app or get more information, visit betterapp.ca.

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