While many college campuses around the country are supposed to be “dry,” experimentation with alcohol and partying is often seen as part of the college experience. Unfortunately, what seems like a fun night to some students is actually a road leading back to addiction for others.
Fortunately, an app called MySoberRoommate has been created to help students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction find sober roommates quickly and privately.
The app’s founders— Los Angeles- based addiction therapist Jesse Sandler, LCSW and Emily Churg, JD, PhD— decided to create an iOS app to make finding a sober roommate more accessible after the app’s companion website, MySoberRoomate.com’s community grew to nearly 3,000 members in the first four months and gained many success stories.
Sandler’s idea for the app came from seeing his own clients and family members struggle with finding sober roommates.
“Your living environment is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your sobriety,” Sandler said. “After getting clean, returning to your old toxic living environment, living with people who are actively using or living alone can all set you up for relapse.”
Sandler saw a need for an accessible place where people, especially college students, could go to privately find sober roommates, and thus the app was born.
“Having a support network at home can make a huge difference in helping you stay on track,” Sandler said. “This is especially true for college students because of the prevalence of drugs and alcohol on campuses.”
Privacy is essential, which is why MySoberRoomate allows members to be in control of what personal information they share and when they share it. Members create a profile, select criteria to be matched with potential roommates and message with them. All messaging goes through the app’s system.
According to Mark Frillman, who is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor working with CAPS and SHS at UNO, the app provides a much needed connection between recovering students and UNO’s campus.
“Students in recovery often feel the burden of having to compromise their recovery and their education,” Frillman said. “They may view the college environment as potentially recovery hostile, feel isolated or find it difficult to become involved in campus life.”
Though Frillman has not yet heard of any reports of successes, problems or difficulties associated with the MySoberRoomates app, he said the service it provides students “is working in the right direction.”
Another way for UNO students in addiction recovery to become connected is through the Mavrecovery student organization, which provides students with the chance to connect with other recovering students and safe space on UNO’s campus.
The organization was established two years ago. Students can contact Mavrecovery through their webpage, email or MavSYNC page.
Students can download the MySoberRoommate app on their smartphones for free.
UNO students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can also find more connections and information through Mavrecovery at http://www.unomaha.edu/student-life/wellness/recovery-community/index.php