Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Web Secret #137: Sober24

Founded in 1949, Hazelden is one of the oldest and best known alcohol and drug treatment facilities in the USA. Not necessarily the place I would expect to develop a cutting edge social media approach to helping people cope with addiction.

How wrong I was. Hazelden is behind a super cool, multifaceted website/blog/social network called Sober24.

I am an impatient sort, so I have not saved the best for last - the cleverest part of Sober24, is the "SoberFuse". You sign up for SoberFuse online. They ask you basic questions about how long you've been sober, whether you attend 12 step meetings, whether you participate in certain constructive activities, etc. You list the key people who are supporting your recovery.

Once you have done this, you are directed to a web page that visually represents your addiction as a bundle of dynamite with a lit fuse of a certain length. If you progress, your fuse gets longer or stays the same length. If you engage in dysfunctional behavior, your fuse gets shorter and shorter, until you blow up - a vivid indicator that you have relapsed. In trouble? Press a button to "Access your contact list". In real trouble? Press the "Panic Button" to connect immediately to a professional. Brilliant.

But SoberFuse is just one social media feature on this amazing site. Others include:
  • Electronic forums on a variety of topics -e.g. for newcomers, for families in recovery, for people with gambling and debt issues, etc.
  • You can host an online diary on the site - "My Journal" or read their featured online diary, "Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife"
  • You can take a free online screening tool - "About My Drinking" which will help you figure out if you should be concerned about yourself or a loved one.
  • And that is but the tip of the iceberg - there are also online chat rooms, a button you press to get an instant list of 12 step meetings, an online book club, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Here's hoping they reach Gen Y with this 21st century approach.

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