According to a small preliminary study surveying 37 teens who were trying to get off and stay off drugs and alcohol, if an individual is trying to recover from substance abuse then spending a lot of time on social media will only get in the way of remaining sober.
The survey asked about the teens’ exposure to substance abuse by other people through social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter etc. Of those surveyed, 92% admitted to using these websites. Out of this group 75% of girls and 50% of the boys said that seeing drugs or alcohol or the abuse of drugs or alcohol on these websites made them want to return to old bad habits.
Here are some reasons why social media use should be restricted while in recovery.
Comparison with Others can be Unhealthy
While it’s human nature to compare oneself to other people, the feeling of not measuring up can be harmful to recovery. Individuals who are newly out of treatment can have lower than normal self esteem and it is important that they surround themselves with positive people and good role models. There are always people who are showing off on social media, and it can be a challenge for the individual in recovery to constantly see what other people claim to have achieved or accomplished, and compare their own life to that.
Glamorizing Drugs and Alcohol
If the individual still has the same friends online as they did before they started recovery, then they will probably continue to see photographs and posts about partying with alcohol, or going out to bars. Photos of drugs and alcohol aren’t just available online, but for the most part they are glamorized. Looking at these pictures can be a trigger for the individual, making them want to return to their harmful habits.
Social Media can be Addictive
Although social media is not a true addiction from a clinical perspective, it does share some of the same behavioral aspects of addiction, like excessive use. And that might interfere with the individual’s daily life and interpersonal relationships. Social media can become an obsession, just like drugs or alcohol.
“I Read It Online”
There is undoubtedly a lot of good information available online. But there is just as much, if not more, misinformation that can be destructive if not used in a correct manner. Social media can be filled with harmful suggestions on self detox or alternative therapies to treat addiction. It is important that the individual always consults their doctor before trying something they read about on social media.
Potential Employers are Online
Individuals who have completed treatment are usually back on the job market. If they are indeed looking for a new job, then they must be aware that many employers use social media as a screening tool for new hires. It would be wise for the individual to delete all negative social media posts and activity from before their recovery, that might have a negative impact on their job prospects.
Social media has changed the way society communicates on both a business and personal level. It has made life easier and quite often more efficient. For individuals in recovery though, it might be wise to unplug for a while and focus on nurturing personal relationships offline.
Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.