Get on the 'Sober Grid': A New App Launched for Sober People

By Zachary Siegel 05/04/15

Sober Grid is a new social network that will connect sober people around the world.

Sober Grid
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Sober people need apps, too. And thanks to Sober Grid, a brand new geosocial network for iPhone and Android, sober people are carving out their own niche in digital space.

“Sober Grid provides direct access to a global sober community and provides a variety of means by which sober people can access and engage with a strong social network at any time and anywhere they may be,” said Beau Mann, co-founder of Sober Grid.

Mann had the idea for “the Grid” when he was newly on the wagon and took a trip to the Sundance Film Festival. He arrived a couple days early, and amidst premieres and parties serving up cocktails, Mann utilized Gindr, a popular geosocial network in the gay community, to connect with people. However, many of them were not sober.

“If there is an app like Grindr for gays, why isn't there an app for sober people to connect with others?" Mann asked himself.

Ever since that trip, which he did survive sober, it’s been his mission to develop the Grid and put it into the hands of as many sober people as possible, relieving them of the stress that comes along with trudging through risky situations all on their own.

Since Grindr is primarily used as a dating or hook-up app for gay men, The Fix asked Mann if he had any concern over the Grid being used in a similar way.

“It is not designed to be a dating app,” he said. “[But] people are people. If members of the Sober Grid community use the app to date or find a sober partner, that is wonderful.” Mann, however, emphasized that the purpose of the Grid is to connect sober people, so they could help one another feel a sense of belonging to a supportive and vast community.

Which makes sense, given a core symptom of drug abuse and alcoholism is a deep feeling of being totally alone. No one around you could possibly understand your own scary and confusing thoughts. Sober Grid may then become your newest and most technologically advanced tool to keep you on the beam.

The Sober Grid app is free—though you can pay for a premium version, which has extra features like more memory for storing photos and such— and has several useful functions.

There is a unique “Need a Ride” function, which may be particularly useful for someone with a revoked license, say from a DUI, rendering him or her immobile, and needing to get around to a meeting or some other kind of sober-social meetup.

“Our experience has been that, despite often having a lot of phone numbers, it is peculiarly difficult for sober people to pick up the phone and use it,” said Mann, which is maybe why the most exciting and potentially useful function is the “Burning Desire Button” (“burning desire” is 12-Step slang for someone who has an urge to drink or use). 

Pressing the button will alert others nearby—with a redbox above your profile—that your sobriety might be “in distress and fear relapse, are having a difficult situation and need support, or just have strong need to connect with others at that moment in time.”

Lastly, The Fix asked Mann how he feels now that his idea has come to life. “I am humbled by the positive response and seeing the app already helping so many sober people around the world," he said.

Below are some of The Fix’s favorite user testimony:

"Love this app! F*** yeah sober people!!" -Ksusha

“I really enjoy Sober Grid ... The burning desire and need a ride options are brilliant. It's perfect for those 2am crises, as well as general travel ... This is the latest and greatest tool in staying stopped. Definitely worth checking out!" -Frankilicious

"this is awesome, a sober facebook" -Ryan J.

“Fellowshipping has never been so easy." -D0W3

"This app allows me to stick with you all, and if you're sober today you are a winner." -Noah

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.