Social Media and Recovery - Oil and Water, They do not Mix!

Technological advancements have dramatically improved our lives over the past few decades, keeping us informed and connected to each other regardless of the time and space between us. However, the rise of social media news feeds have been more a curse than a blessing, leading many of us to frame and censor our lives for the sake of “likes” while hiding any imperfections or struggles we are going through. As a result, social media is a magnet for unhealthy comparisons between our actual lives and the purported lives of those around us. These unrealistic comparisons have no place in our lives in recovery, as they only serve to dent our self-esteem and leave us feeling negatively about our progress in life.

When it comes to our own posts on social media, too often we are tempted to engage in “image crafting”. When all is said and done, this boils down to dishonesty, as we amplify the positives in our life while hiding the negatives in order to appear more together and perfect than we really are. This airbrushing of our lives serves no purpose other than to promote envy in those we maintain online friendships with while leaving us feeling fraudulent as we face a much different life online than we purport to have online. Unless you are willing to accurately portray your life in your social media profiles, it would be best to abstain from posting any updates until you have grown in recovery to a point where you are ready to adhere to a policy of honesty online.

The flip side of this coin is the endless scrolling we engage in on our social media news feeds. Looking at the status updates and photo posts of those with whom we maintain online friendships usually leads us to compare what it is we are doing with our day to what we see others posting about. Attempting to measure our lives against that which we see online will always leave us feeling unfulfilled and inadequate, which is exactly the sort of mental state which opens a person up to the possibility of relapse. This is just another argument for your cutting out your social media consumption habit in early sobriety, setting it aside until you have progressed in your stepwork and are in a better place mentally and spiritually to reintroduce this indulgence into your life.

Social media can be a useful communication tool, enabling us to connect with people and keep them up to date with important developments unfolding in our lives. Unfortunately, most of us put social media to more superficial and destructive uses, either perpetuating the false idea that our lives are flawless or using other’s profiles as a yardstick for our own progress. Neither of these activities promote any sort of meaningful self-esteem or growth in recovery, and you should therefore consider shelving your social media accounts in early sobriety. Once you have made substantial progress in your stepwork and are on firm ground mentally and spiritually, you can safely resume these activities. You may surprise yourself and find social media no longer interests you now that you are living in recovery and have a new set of values and beliefs!