Let’s face it, technology is probably a major part of your everyday life. You probably use one or more social media platforms, the most popular being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. There are many benefits to using social media, but it can be harmful, especially during the recovery process. No matter where you are in your recovery process, social media should be used responsibly.
Advantages of Social Media in Recovery
There are a number of benefits to using social media. In fact, it can be instrumental in building a solid support system throughout your recovery process. The advantages of using social media during recovery include:
- Social media is a great way for you to keep in contact with your family and friends, whether they be local or distant. It is also a great way to make new connections and network with other people who have similar interests.
- Social media offers a variety of groups that can provide you with support during your recovery process.
- Sites such as Facebook offer both private and public groups that you can join to get support, share experiences, and support others. Peer interaction is important during recovery, and social media gives you unlimited access to build healthy relationships with people you can relate to.
- Using social media gives you access to information related to addiction and recovery. This information can be written or via multimedia. You can even find and read reviews for your local treatment programs or 12-step meetings in your area.
- Social media apps provide a great place to discover and pursue hobbies, search for employment, and find volunteer opportunities.
Disadvantages of Social Media in Recovery
Overconsumption and unhealthy online activities can make social media a danger to your sobriety. Some of the disadvantages of using social media throughout your recovery process include:
- Viewing pictures, media content or memes about drinking or drugs can trigger cravings and even lead to relapse.
- You can become a victim of cyberbullying, identity theft, or scams.
- Just as social media allows you to connect with people who support your recovery journey and long-term sobriety, it gives people who are not necessarily supportive or even aware of your recovery efforts an opportunity to contact you.
- Social media can be highly addictive. In fact, it can become a replacement addiction. It can be a huge distraction that can decrease your level of productivity or cause you to neglect responsibilities.
- Drug and alcohol use is often glorified on social media, especially when it comes to celebrities. Substance use is often made to look like consequence-free fun on social media, and that can be triggering.
- Addiction is sometimes stigmatized, which often starts debates on the morality or ethics of people who suffer from a substance use disorder.
- Social media can be a negative influence on your self-esteem. Comparing your life to the lives of others can cultivate feelings of depression or discouragement.
- Having unlimited access to information makes social media a great learning tool, however not all information posted on social media is accurate. Misinformation is a serious problem on social media and consuming the wrong information can be detrimental to your sobriety.
Proceed With Caution
Social media can be detrimental to your health and sobriety, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your sobriety:
- Limit your time on social media. If you develop unhealthy habits due to social media, take a break. Unplug and abstain when necessary.
- Be mindful of the information you consume on social media. In fact, it is best to double or even triple-check information and investigate sources of that information to confirm its validity and accuracy.
- Consider keeping your page or profile private in order to limit who has access to you and the content you share, especially if you are posting about your recovery process. You can also create an alias.
- Review online safety tips to learn how to keep you and your personal information safe from scams or identity theft.
- Be mindful of hashtags when looking for resources or communities online. For example, hashtags like #AddictionRecovery can present you with access to positive resources and supportive peers. It is also possible however to stumble across videos or memes that feature people who are within an active addiction, or reenacting behaviors or circumstances that they experienced while they were within an active addiction (i.e., nodding off, passing out, or erratic behavior caught on film).
- Consider using parental control programs that can give you an extra layer of protection from visiting dangerous sites, profiles, groups, or hashtags.
Social media can prove to be quite a double-edged sword. Although it is a great way to build a support system and obtain useful information, it can also be threatening to your mental health and sobriety. It is up to you to decide what role social media should play in both your day-to-day life, as well as on your path to recovery. Consider asking yourself, “is social media helping or hurting my recovery”? Social media has the ability to give rise to triggers that can threaten your sobriety, so staying safe while online is just as imperative as staying safe while offline. Valiant Living is a safe, supportive place where you can learn coping strategies to help you achieve long-term success in your recovery process. We understand how important maintaining your sobriety is to you. If you or someone you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, please contact us at (303) 952-5035.