Social media and advertising affect sobriety with the barrage of marketing that can follow anyone, anywhere. The internet’s effect on addiction can make it hard to maintain sobriety even for the most committed. Drinking and drug use have long been glamorized in the media, especially on television and in films.
There’s no shortage of ads promoting a carefree, luxury lifestyle all thanks to the consumption of some alcoholic beverage or another. Many advertisements carry the fine-printed warning to “drink responsibly.” However, the ads themselves fail to consider the impact their media has on people in recovery.
Considering how many people are high-functioning and “closeted” addicts, the effects of social media on sobriety can be even more damaging. For many, alcohol is a part of their social life. Happy hour with coworkers, getting drinks with a date, and hitting up the bar with friends is all par for the course. Without drinking or drugs, many people feel like social outcasts.
Online, the constant stream of party pics and story updates can worsen the feelings of loneliness and exclusion. (1) In a 2019 survey by the Cigna Health Insurance Company, 46 percent of respondents reported that they felt lonely “sometimes or always.” They also reported that social media worsened the feeling of being alone. Behind closed doors and in front of small screens, those suffering from addiction can become separated from those closest to them.
Staying Sober Online
Sobriety requires a total lifestyle change. To live sober, one must become mindful of everything they consume. This includes what is consumed online. Certain types of media can be triggering. Especially if you happen to follow old friends or relatives who tend to post pictures involving alcohol or drug use.
It’s okay to mute or unfollow them. Besides, your sobriety is more important than their likes or follows. Being sober on social media means taking full advantage of the ability to control your feed. You can find ways to avoid triggering content. Begin to follow accounts and hashtags that contribute to your long-term recovery. You have the power to flip the negativity usually associated with social media into a positive, reinforcing supplement to recovery.
If you’re recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, hashtags like #justfortoday, #sobermovement, and #hellosundaymorning can help you stay inspired and connect with others. Not everyone has access to a great recovery support system in real life. This makes social media a valuable tool in someone’s sobriety journey. Follow accounts that inspire you. Listen to podcasts like The Sober Guys and Take 12 Recovery Radio. There’s a media format for everyone’s preference out there. You can cater to your social media experience to promote sobriety.
It’s not easy to live without technology anymore. Although social media and advertising affect sobriety, it does not mean you should have to go without the internet just to stay sober. Through therapy, you can learn healthy ways to handle triggers. Most importantly, therapy will also help one process and heal from old memories and stay focused on your goals for the future.
Advertising Affect Sobriety is Only Part of the Puzzle
Social media and advertising are just part of the greater world tugging at us. Awareness is central to remain on the path of sobriety. By recognizing what and who is garnering our attention, we can choose how to respond. Individuals suffering from addiction can benefit from treatment centers that treat the whole person including the mind, body, and spirit. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to speak with one of our professionals.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.