An online platform created by two Dublin teens is making strides in alcohol and drug abuse support for underage users. The website and app, My Alcohol Story, allows viewers to anonymously read, share and interact with posts about their struggles with substances.
Founded by Dublin High School students Anit Annadi and Cyril Joby, My Alcohol Story aims to bridge the gap in awareness and treatment for teenage alcohol abuse. Other support groups or systems aimed toward alcoholism or drugs largely exist for adults, neglecting underage users, the pair said.
"Firstly, we understood there was a huge gap in this type of support," said Annadi, who serves as the company's CEO. "Most treatments or groups are targeted toward adults and don't address the needs of teenagers who are also struggling to find a support community."
"It's a very serious issue that most people don't think about. Things like Alcoholics Anonymous exist, but there is no well-known or accepted platform for teenage alcoholism despite it being a large problem that is often overlooked," Annadi added.
What is unique about My Alcohol Story is that users are able to share their stories without using their own names. Annadi has said this aspect of the app provides teenagers with a safe place to discuss their experiences without fear of judgment or retaliation.
"The anonymity aspect is huge for our platform. When sharing their own personal stories, teens and young adults might be apprehensive to attach their name to that with the legal aspect," he said.
Annadi and Joby, currently juniors at Dublin High, coded the website and application themselves. Initially the co-founders spent large amounts of their time learning, navigating and trying out different codes and digital programming.
"We brainstormed and started to think about what it would take to build something like this," Annadi said.
Since its launch in June 2022, the app has attracted over 200 users and published dozens of stories.
They have partnered with nonprofits across the nation, such as Global Mental Health Outreach and MED-ucate by SPARK, to increase their notoriety and support skills.
The founders hope the app can untimely connect those who have struggled with addiction with similar stories and help them find a sense of community.
"We wanted people to be able to feel supported, like they're not alone with those issues," Annadi said. "We encourage teenagers and young adults to join the platform even if you're just curious about the app or topic,"
Annadi hopes My Alcohol Story will be able to continue expanding and reach broader audiences. They plan on adding more features to improve the platform in the future.
To visit the live site, go to myalcoholstory.com/landing.