Here at AfterParty, we’re always hearing from readers that their favorite section is our long-running How I Got Sober column. We get it; there’s something incredibly powerful about reading multiple people’s stories of finding recovery—especially from the safety cocoon of your smart phone or computer—to feel inspired to finally make a change yourself. While 12-step rooms used to be the go-to catch-all for trouble with the bottle, other alternatives are starting to pop up as often as kale, gluten-free diets and Kendall Jenner—and nothing has been more powerful in terms of helping to inspire hope than inspiring stories online. The latest to understand this is a company that makes a breathalyzer-ish device that lets every VIP in your life know that you’re not boozing.
Sharing (About Your Breathalyzer) is Caring
Here’s the deal: nobody really wants to talk about having to use a breathalyzer to prove to their girlfriend, boss or dog walker that they’re sober, but if they could do so in the confines of a judge-free safe zone, it could potentially help another human get on the right track. The folks at Soberlink, the creators of a seriously high-tech mobile-breath alcohol monitoring system, understand that. And they come by this understanding because they have long been advocates of ditching the stigma against alcoholism and addiction, and treating it like any other chronic disease.
With that in mind, they hope people will feel empowered, rather than ashamed, to share how the recently FDA-approved Soberlink Cellular Device has changed their life. It’s why they’ve created Sober Stories, a platform where Soberlink clients freely discuss how the device has saved their tail, so to speak (all personal accounts can be shared anonymously).
The Power of Computer-Generated Accountability
Just to recap in case you haven’t read our previous coverage of these sober heroes: Soberlink’s Cellular Device is much more than your average DUI-checkpoint breathalyzer. When someone breathes into it, the action is captured and uploaded into an online system. Facial recognition software confirms the identity of the person and sends BAC (blood alcohol content) results to a previously approved list of concerned parties, whether it’s a spouse, rehab clinician or sober coach.
Trevor Shevin, CIP, CASAC-T, CARC, MBA (this guys has creds for days so clearly he knows his addiction talk) and Principal, Founder of Sterling Recovery Services, uses Soberlink in his practice which often includes high-profile clientele who have a history of struggling with alcohol. He emphasizes that while initially clients can be reluctant to use Soberlink, it ultimately proves invaluable to helping reestablish trust. Shevin says, “It allows their loved ones to breathe at night and know they’re in the care of someone like me; it’s a tangible tool that allows me to know in real time if they’re using or not.”
There is a tremendous amount stress associated with worrying about alcoholics during the early stages of recovery. Families, wanting to believe, are often left wondering if they truly are sober. “Trust has often been compromised and the trauma from yesteryear can quickly resurface causing a level of stress and angst that Soberlink effectively alleviates. When a client is authentically engaged and invested in their recovery, it can be hurtful to have a loved one question their sincerity,” Shevin says. “Soberlink is a reliable tool that helps mitigate some of those initial wrinkles that many clients experience early on.”
Due to the nature and stigma associated with recovery, Shevin’s clients are protective of their anonymity. That said, many of them reflect back on times where the difference between sobriety and a relapse involved the accountability Soberlink creates. “Not too long ago one of my clients attended an extravagant wedding where wine was consistently being poured and consumed by everyone at his table,” Shevin recounts. “As the evening progressed he started romancing the idea how harmless one drink would be. Then his Soberlink text reminder notified him that he had to check in which snapped him out of it. He went back to his hotel and called me to share his experience, stating ‘I knew I had to submit a Soberlink and didn’t want to have to deal with the consequences of relapsing,’ so he didn’t.”
Beats the Hell out of an Ankle Bracelet
One of the Sober Stories already up was submitted by a California woman involved in custody proceedings following a divorce filing by her husband. Having completed addiction treatment at the time and having received two false positive results from urine testing at a local lab, she was faced with the dilemma of needing to provide the court with concrete evidence of her sobriety. Rightfully wary of having to sport an ankle bracelet just to be able to take her kids out for ice cream, the woman was able, through her lawyer, to utilize the power of Soberlink. As she wrote on the Soberlink site, “We were able to show the judge a clear record of dozens of consecutive negative Soberlink tests even in the face of yet another false positive from the lab…I believe that the reliability of Soberlink will likely prevent another falsely accused parent from having their children taken away.”
Stories like this are becoming more the norm as Soberlink becomes an integral part of family law. Eager to provide a valuable resource to the healthcare system too, plenty of medically-centered rehabs are also taking advantage of Soberlink to help keep track of their client’s progress post-treatment.
The more this device gets used, the more people will sing its praises through mediums like Sober Stories—and that’s a cycle that we like to see.
Photo provided by Soberlink. Used with permission.
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