Sober Grid CEO Beau Mann Opens Up About Creating a Digital Recovery Community

By David Konow 01/23/17

"I started Sober Grid because I saw an important, but at that time unmet, need for people in recovery to find and connect with their peers."

Man and woman looking at cell phones.

In maintaining sobriety, communication is important. Today, a new generation of mobile apps helps people stay in touch and stay sober. Sober Grid, the brainchild of entrepreneur Beau Mann, is one of them. The social networking app for iPhone and Android was invented as a way for people to get in touch with others in recovery day or night, and support each other in staying sober.

Sober Grid has a newsfeed feature, where people in recovery can talk and share their stories; a “Burning Desire” button, which you can hit when you need help; and a “Need a Ride” button, which lets other users know that you don’t have transportation and, say, need to get to a meeting.

Now, Mann has talked to Forbes about his creation, and how it has enriched and often saved the lives of many people in recovery. Mann came up with the idea when he was at the Sundance Film Festival and wanted to connect with fellow sober people away from his home base. “This type of connection is especially important when one is away from their established sober support network,” he said.

Mann was surprised that there wasn't a social networking app for people in recovery at the time, so he set out to launch his own. “I immediately recognized how beneficial such an app would be for people in recovery, or people still trying to get sober," he said. "I started Sober Grid because I saw an important, but at that time unmet, need for people in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction to find and connect with their peers. I entered recovery at the age of 23, and I have relied on the support I received from sober peers to achieve and maintain my sobriety."

Mann told Forbes that the company hears from people in recovery every day who have stayed sober thanks to the app. He told the story of one man in California who was addicted to heroin and needed immediate help, but couldn’t afford treatment and had trouble finding a facility that would take him. Then, through Sober Grid, someone reached out and was able to get him into a treatment center through a scholarship. The patient “has been sober since [and] he credits the support he received through Sober Grid with saving his life.”

Mann also pointed out another patient, who was in a remote part of Alaska and didn’t know where to find help. Through Sober Grid, he could “connect with others whenever he needed to, despite his physical isolation.”

For the future, Mann hopes Sober Grid will be “a household name in the recovery community … I believe Sober Grid will change the face of addiction recovery by allowing all those in need, no matter where they are, to access life saving support that will help them recover.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.