By Eva Charles Anna Frederick
In the spring of 2016, while Emily Lindemer was working toward her Ph.D. at MIT, she was also struggling with something closer to home: watching someone she knew well fall in and out of recovery from opioid addiction.
Like many people in recovery, Lindemer’s friend had his ups and downs. There were promising periods of sobriety followed by relapses into old habits. As the months went by, Lindemer began to see patterns.
For example, when he lost his driver's license — a common occurrence for people struggling with substance abuse who have run-ins with police — he had to call his friends to give him rides to work. If the friends he called for a lift were also people he used drugs with, Lindemer says, he’d relapse within a week.
“His relapses were predictable almost to a T, just based on the people he was associating with — who he was talking to, calling, texting, and hanging out with,” she says.
This realization turned out to be an inspiration. What if, she thought, there was a way to provide gentle moments of pause to people struggling with substance-abuse disorders?