5 Free Apps To Track Your Dry January Progress

An initiative of charity Alcohol Change UK, Dry January is now a wide-spread social media phenomenon that refers to a month without alcohol. Some people use this month for a yearly reset, while for others Dry January is one of 11 other similarly dry months. Whether this January marks your first annual, first in a long time, seventeenth, or seventieth month without drinking, there are sobriety apps that can help track your Dry January progress.

These apps can play a crucial role in creating a sense of community around sobriety, which is especially important when so much of adult social bonding is centered around bars and other places and events where alcohol dominates. By creating a virtual community of support and understanding, sobriety apps can serve as positive atmospheres for people in recovery.

Still, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Current Psychiatry, there haven’t yet been enough studies about the effectiveness of smartphone apps aimed at improving people’s mental well-being, including sobriety apps meant to help people avoid alcohol. However, the study acknowledged that as technology and smartphone innovation improves, apps will likely only become more effective and useful, especially when used in conjunction with professional medical and mental health care. So no matter your motivations, if you’re heading into Dry January, these five free apps can be helpful for tracking your progress and building support around yourself.

1. Dry January

DryJanuary on YouTube

Created by Alcohol Change UK, the simply-named Dry January app allows users to track everything from how long they've gone without drinking to how much money they saved through not buying alcohol. If you're a visual learner, Dry January's charts can help you physically see more about your typical relationship with alcohol so you can identify what, if anything, you want to change throughout the month and the year.

2. I Am Sober

The popular app I Am Sober allows users to track how long they've been sober, automatically marking milestones of all sizes (from a day to many months and years). The app also allows you to track your triggers and connect with people who are at similar points in their journey as you are.

3. Nomo

Created by and for people who are in recovery, Nomo (No More) has options for all levels of engagement with outside community and the app itself. If you only want the app to serve as a clock marking how long you've been sober, it can do that (that might be ideal for people who aren't in recovery but want to help track their Dry January progress anyway). But if you want to use its other features, the app can also connect you with accountability partners when you can't or don't go to meetings, as well as giving you a space to journal and reflect on your relationship with alcohol.

4. Saying When

Created by the Education department at Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Saying When app provides step-by-step instructions for tracking how much and when you drink. During Dry January (and beyond), this app can help you identify when and where your urges to drink are strongest so that you can develop a deeper understanding of your triggers and effective supports. Since people may use Dry January as a testing ground for staying sober over longer periods, Saying When can be useful in terms of keeping your journey as private as you might want it to be.

5. Sober Grid

Sober Grid on YouTube

If you're the kind of person who thrives on having community, Sober Grid might be a great option for you. This app offers 24/7 live peer coaching and gives users the option to share your progress with others on similar journeys. You can press a "burning desire" button for help if you're feeling particularly overwhelmed by an urge to drink, and public or private options allow you to customize your daily check-ins to be exactly what you want and need them to be.

Whether you're in recovery or participating in Dry January with of your friends, tracking your progress can be a very helpful way to stay on the path you want to be on. Learning more about your relationship with alcohol is always a good thing, and you might find that these sobriety apps are useful tools for doing just that. But no matter what you're drinking or not drinking during Dry January, your choices and journey are valid.