Social media is pervasive in this day and age. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more constantly fill up hours of the day until we’ve scrolled through other people’s lives so extensively that we’ve lost track of our own responsibilities. Of course, we all have different reasons for why we utilize social media. Some of us prefer to keep in touch with friends from long distance, while others simply enjoy the entertainment that these applications can provide. Those in addiction recovery typically want nothing more than to live a “normal” life filled with friends, family, and responsibilities, without the weight of alcohol or drugs bringing them down. The biggest question to ask yourself is this: “How does social media fit into recovery?”
Benefits of Social Media to Recovery
There are several ways that social media can serve as an added benefit to our recovery. However, this is only true if we’re using it the right way, and monitoring how often we approach social media.
- Reconnecting with Loved Ones
Social media provides us with an opportunity to connect with people from across the world – people that perhaps we were once close with, but lost touch because they moved or because of another life situation. With the help of relevant apps, we can feel part of their lives. For some people, that motivation can be enough to get them going in recovery. They want to make their loved ones proud, even if they’re not physically nearby.
- Standing Up for Key Issues
Social media makes communication more accessible than ever before. If there was ever a time to connect with people over a specific cause, that time is now. Social media allows people to get together on topics that mean most to them. Facebook groups, Instagram tribes, and more can support each other in sobriety as they all come together to fight for their recovery goals.
- Support of Others
When major news events happen, we can support those we care about through social media. For someone who may be focusing a lot on their addiction recovery, social media could provide them with a sense of “normalcy” as they’re able to get involved in local matters and voice their opinion on relevant topics.
Ways It Brings Us Down
There’s always an upside and downside to entities like social media. There are always factors that those in recovery should watch out for while scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. Let’s take a look at some of the negatives:
- Social Media Addiction is Real
Let’s face it: social media is addictive. We can easily spend hours looking at and comparing our lives to others. This can perpetuate habits that seep into other critical areas of our recovery life. What used to be time spent drinking alcohol or using drugs could quickly become replaced by using social media. Even if it serves as a “distraction” at first, it can quickly go downhill from there.
- Comparisons to others
There’s a high possibility that we’ll run into posts and images about other people partying at some point on social media. When holidays, birthdays, graduations, and other events roll around, it’s prime time for people to “show off” what they’ve been doing. For someone who is practicing sobriety, it can be hard not to compare their journey to someone else’s. In instances like these, the best action that can be taken is to avoid social media altogether and simply focus on oneself because we’re all on different journeys.
- Dangerous Movements
As our society tends to normalize drinking culture, those in recovery aren’t immune to seeing hundreds of messages perpetuating this idealism. “Wine mom” culture took over on social media a few years ago – and it’s still something put into high regard on a variety of social media outlets. While this type of movement may seem fun at first, the reality is that it’s incredibly problematic. Furthermore, it perpetuates this idea that mothers are having a hard time “keeping it together” and therefore need to drink to deal with what’s going on.
Overall, it sounds like there are some significant benefits – as well as some major drawbacks – to the use of social media while in recovery. The best way you can decide whether social media is for you or not is to take a hard, close look at how you’ve been using and thinking about social media and how it affects your recovery journey.
If you’re finding that there are more drawbacks than benefits, it’s time to cut it out. Surround yourself with activities that lift you up in recovery rather than pull you back.
Asking for help can feel scary and overwhelming, Choice House is here to support you along your journey to recovery. If you’re ready to seek help for addiction, speak with a professional from Choice House today – it’s never too late to seek the help you need. Social media and its place in your life is only one small part of the much bigger picture. Recovery consists of many moving parts, each of which needs to be maintained to stay sober. For most people, this process cannot be navigated alone. Choice House is here to help you. If you’re ready to make a dramatic change in your life, reach out and give us a call today at (720) 577-4422 to learn more.