The Sobering Thoughts app aims to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by using the brain's natural ability to form helpful associations.
Young people are exposed to hundreds of new and varied experiences every day - each new experience creating a memory. These memories can be both helpful and positive or unhelpful and negative. Our brain subconsciously collects all this data, and makes associations between events - essentially “programming” itself to repeat good experiences and avoid bad ones. It does this to give us a competitive advantage in similar situations we might meet in the future.
Most of this is extremely helpful, however some associations can actually be problematic and many people have irrational fears or prejudices based on coincidental associations. A young child with a terrifyingly strict teacher might come to dislike school, even when later on, they have a teacher they like. First impressions can be hard to unlearn!
A shared experience for many is the feeling of excitement and freedom during our teenage years which can be mistakenly attributed to drinking alcohol.
The unhelpful association that exciting times, friends, parties and fun require alcohol is something many people take for granted. Before long standing in a group of friends seems to require an alcoholic drink of some kind. A night with friends without booze doesn’t quite have the same appeal and a social occasion with people we don’t know is unthinkable without a pint or two.
On top of these learnt but unhelpful associations, the media is constantly reinforcing them to ensure we all continue to buy their drinks. They link alcohol with visions of wealth, beauty, and freedom in warm exotic places.
Sobering thoughts aims to balance the scales and offers some realistic and useful associations in the form of negative pictures which we can use to replace these unhelpful associations which tell us that drinking is a social necessity.
The game shows us an image of alcohol in a not particularly attractive light and an anagram of a word, say, “hangover”. The users job is to pick the word from the list below as quickly as they can to gain a point.
Repeated over a long period of time, these negative words and pictures can help to create a more realistic attitude towards alcohol and so make it subconsciously easier to stick to the soft drinks.
The app allows you to track how many days you have completed, record your top scores and share your progress with friends too.