Tag Archives: alcohol

App of the Week – WeConnect

palalinqAddiction is a serious personal problem. Let me correct myself. Addiction is a life or death internal war. Finding help and building a support network is vital to living beyond the addiction. That is why  “WeConnect” is the App of the Week.

WeConnect is an app-based platform that puts support for the recovering addict right in the palm of their  hands. And for the struggling addict that could be a miracle when they need it most.

Addiction in America is a frightening problem. A 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that there are an estimated 23 million Americans, some as young as 12 years old, using illegal drugs. The survey also reported an estimated 22.2 million persons age 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year. For Black people the addiction problem is especially acute. These stats from a 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) are tragic.

  • The rate of illegal drug use in the last month among African Americans ages 12 and up in 2014 was 12.4%, compared to the national average of 10.2%.
  • The rate of binge drinking (drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion for men) among African Americans ages 12 and up was 21.6%–compared with the national average of 23%.
  • African Americans ages 12 to 20 in 2014 reported past-month alcohol use at a rate of 17.3%, compared with the national average of 22.8%. Past-month underage binge drinking was 8.5% for African American youth, while the national average was 13.8%.

And in case you haven’t heard there is also a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic sweeping the nation.

WeConnect offers context-sensitive notifications to encourage timely communication within support groups. The apps dashboard view structures the user’s day with activities that are vital to his or her recovery such as prayer or meditation. WeConnect provides ongoing tracking of the recovering addicts progress. This is another vital function as every addict understands the concept of one day at a time.  The app can help track attendance at recovery program meetings. Addicts are master liars. Anyone who has dealt with one knows this. WeConnect tries to cut down on the lies and deception with functions that include using geofencing to determine if the addict really attended a particular meeting and even how long they spent there.

If you know an addict or are one yourself you know the struggle. And you also know some days are worse than others. WeConnect includes an SOS button a user can press to send an immediate and urgent message seeking help and support from pre-selected contacts. 

WeConnect also offers a rewards element built in to the app that allows users  to earn things like coffee coupons and yoga lessons as they advance in their recovery and progress towards a life free of substance abuse.

Currently WeConnect is in beta testing stage but that does not mean if you are an addict you cannot get help from this app. To become an early adapter click here.

Breaking Smartphone Addiction

canstockphoto16351660Breaking smartphone addiction is a serious issue. There are several technology addictions that are becoming recognized by professional psychologist. Black people’s lives are being destroyed in much the same way cocaine or alcohol destroys lives. We just can’t stop doing it.

Everyday African-Americans get fired from jobs because they can’t stay away from their cell or smartphones. These people can’t break away from a texting conversation, constantly check their email, or must surf the web every few minutes. And guess what, sooner or later the boss has seen enough and they get fired.

Other people can’t resist responding to a text even when they are driving and end up killing themselves or someone else because they weren’t focused on the road.

Men and women create strain in their  marriages or relationships because of cell phones and the Internet. Internet porn addiction has become common among men of all races. For more on Internet addiction read this.

But back to breaking smartphone addiction.  The average person unlocks their the phone 100 to 150 times a day. Make that 100 to 150 interruptions a day. But there are ways to break your smartphone addiction if you really try.  Here are a few tips.

Turn off notifications. Set your cell phone not to vibrate or ring when you are working. Same goes for your apps, Twitter, email, Facebook posts, Instagram,  whatever. On iPhones use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature for everything except for your spouse or children in case of emergency. You should do the same for your Android phone. Make a habit of checking your phone only on your break or lunch. It takes practice and determination but it could save your job or marriage.

Uninstall apps. You need to go cold turkey of you can’t wean yourself off slowly. Uninstall all unnecessary apps. Ask yourself what you really need daily? Start by focusing on apps that deliver websites and other online services to your smartphone.  Do you really need Facebook and Twitter on your phone? You already have them on your laptop or tablet? But I pray you don’t have them on your work computer! Do you really need  email on the go? Practice waiting until you’re back at your computer to check Pinterest or Instagram? With a smartphone, if you get in a bind, you can always access the web. 

Budget your time on your smartphone. Start with an hour a day. That means no games, no social media and short conversations. Limit anything on your smartphone that takes away time from other, more worthwhile pursuits; like finishing that report you boss asked for. Re-build your attention span by deleting apps that can interrupt you.

Removing duplicate apps means fewer notifications and fewer updates to install. You can also  free up storage space on your phone and reduce the clutter on your home screen. You might want to run an audit of all the apps on your smartphone. This is a good time to decide what you need and  don’t need. Once you delete an app if you haven’t re-installed it in a month, you never needed in the first place. You can also reduce the amount of information you broadcast by reducing the apps on your phone. Nearly all of them spy on you in one way or another.

Make use of airplane mode. Not only does this mode eliminate notifications but you can still use the camera and access any files you have on the device.

Airplane mode also blocks SMS messages and phone calls making you unavailable in the event of an emergency. You need to consider that.

Airplane mode also make a difference in your quality of sleep. Instead of dealing with dozens of notifications, beeps, buzzes and other distractions you can enjoy a good night sleep and a easy morning wake up. When its time to deal with the world again  you just tap a couple of buttons and the rat race begins. Keep in mind that the light from a phone or tablet has been proven to disturb normal sleep patterns.

Use a quitting app. That’s right there’s an app for breaking your smartphone addiction. How ironic! Besides setting your smartphone not to interrupt you there are apps that can monitor your mobile activity. These apps can limit your usage if you need that help. One of popular apps is known as  BreakFree. Its available for Apple and Android devices. The app provides a detailed breakdown about which apps are taking up most of your time and how often you’re checking your smartphone or tablet.

Quitting apps can also disable some or all notifications. They allow you to set an auto reply to text messages to let people know that you’re  taking a break. Beeps, and buzzes and the Internet can be disabled if needed. You can set specific times when you don’t want to be disturbed. BreakFree can also remind you of your current addiction level if you desire a constant reminder.

Other quitting apps alternatives include StayOnTask and AppDetox to help wean you off that technology addiction.  Both are available only for Android devices.

When all else fails; hide the damn thing! Or use any barrier you can think of to prevent you from checking your phone incessantly. Implement a complicated unlock code or password is one way to make it difficult to use that device. If you are at work leave your phone in a drawer or in the car. Promise yourself you will only check two or three times a day. At home, you could do the same if you want to give your undivided attention to a sports game, a movie or the spouse and family.

We live in a world of technology and mobility. But we also live with other people, some very important to us. We also have other fairly serious obligations that require our attention as well. If we fail to balance these things properly the results have proven to be disastrous. Technology addiction has become as dangerous as drugs and alcohol.

Now you know.