Social Media and Its Impact on Sobriety

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Social media can be a great tool, but it also can be a great hindrance to your recovery and overall mental health if not used in a healthy way. Social media can cause us to compare ourselves to others, impact our self-esteem, and lead to other problems. This is why it is important not only to have a proper perspective on social media but also to know when it is time to take a break from it. Practicing healthy social media habits can help protect your mental health and sobriety.

Social media can be utilized for many good things as well. For example, you can use it as a tool in your recovery, using it to stay connected with people you've met during treatment. Our team at Pathways Recovery Center can help you to learn how to do this. 

Understanding How Social Media Can Lead to Self-Comparison

Many people forget to fail to realize that social media is only a highlight reel of people's lives. People are posting happy and positive moments. You probably wouldn't think about sharing pictures from a bad day or posting about different challenges that you may be going through. Because of this, social media can, at times, portray a false sense of reality. 

It can make it look like everyone you know has it all together in life and is doing great when this is likely not always the case. This can cause you to take a look at your own life and wonder what you're doing wrong or why you're not seemingly as successful, financially stable, or simply just not at the same place in life as they are. When you compare yourself like this, it can lead to mental health problems like anxiety or depression. It may even cause you to think about turning back to substance misuse. 

We must remember that everyone has problems and different things that they are struggling with privately. Nobody is living a perfect life. It is far better to focus on the good you already have in life instead of focusing on what others have. Fostering gratitude in this way can help you see that your life may be better than you ever truly realized. 

Understanding When It's Time to Take a Social Media Break

It's easy to sit down with your phone, open up a social media app, planning to scroll only for a few minutes, but end up scrolling for far longer than you intended. This can not only waste a lot of your time and cut in with productivity, but it can also take a toll on your mental health. Social media can take you away from the present moment and cause you to avoid focusing on the things that matter the most in life. This is why it is important to be able to recognize the signs that it may be time for you to take a social media break. 

Consider how you feel before scrolling through social media and how you feel after. Do you tend to feel drained, worried, or simply sad? If so, it may be time to take a break from social media to clear your head and become fully present in your day-to-day life. 

Maybe you don't want to step away from social media entirely, but you simply want to cut back. You can do this by scheduling specific time frames during the day when you can scroll through social media. The rest of the day, you refrain from using it. You can even set an alarm on your phone to help remind you when it is time to log out. 

How to Use Social Media in Your Recovery

It's really important to consider what type of content you're viewing on social media. Is it content that is uplifting and that inspires you? Or does it drain you or hurt your self-esteem? If it's the latter, it may be time to take a closer look at what sort of profiles you're following and consider adjusting the content you are observing.

There are many positive, educational, and inspirational social media accounts out there. Consider taking the time to look for them and changing the type of content you're following. 

To use social media as a tool in your recovery, consider setting up a Facebook group to help stay connected with all the people you've met through treatment. Or come up with your own local group for sober individuals looking for people to hang out with. You can spread the word and put out announcements. 

Recovery can feel isolating at times for some people.  Social media can be a great way to show support to people who are new to their recovery journey and bring people together. Our team at Pathways Recovery Center wants to help you as you progress on your journey.

Social media plays a big role in our society, but it is important that we don't let it take over our lives. It's essential to take breaks, be present in the moment, and focus on what really matters in life. It's not followers or likes. If social media is taking up too large of a space in your life, consider making a change. If you're in recovery and want to learn more about addiction and mental health-related topics, our team at Pathways Recovery Center is here to help. Give us a call at (888) 771-0966 today to learn more. A member of our team will be happy to help you. 

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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