Can Social Media Help Those In Recovery?

on Thursday, 05 June 2014. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

Can Social Media Help Those In Recovery?

One of the main facets of recovery today is the fact that it is all under the protective veil of anonymity. The eleventh tradition of most 12-step programs, as started by Alcoholics Anonymous, is: “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

Seeing as the traditions were written back in the 30’s, the Internet did not exist back then and was thus not a part of this tradition. Had they been written today, the internet would have most definitely been included.

Breaking Anonymity

It is a personal choice whether or not to break anonymity if someone is in a 12-step program. It is not uncommon for a celebrity or professional athlete to come out about the fact that they abused drugs and/or alcohol and have since gotten sober and into a 12-step program, showing that they are better now and that the program works.

It is good that they do this, despite the fact they are breaking tradition, because it shows other people out there that it is possible for someone to get sober and stay sober. However, the benefit of this also begets the danger. If someone who is famous comes out about the fact that they are sober and shows they are doing well, and then all of a sudden they relapse and are caught in the public eye doing so, it gives the impression that, well, it seems that these 12-step programs might not actually work because look at this person, they didn’t stay sober.

The Disease

The disease of addiction is a strong, baffling and cunning one. Most people do not realize that for someone who is an addict, be them active or in recovery, the disease is always there. It has it’s own sentience and will. The voice of addiction is always present in the mind of an active or recovering addict, and this voice is always aiming to try and get more and more of whatever it craves, be it alcohol, drugs, painkillers, gambling, sex, or maybe even something as harmless as video gaming. The disease aims to fill the endless void that is always present.

The disease of addiction is also one that can be very isolating, even in recovery. Some words that one might hear in the rooms of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting might be along the lines of, “The alcoholics answer to loneliness is isolation.” Even while being in recovery, traits of the active disease still exist, and it is the job of the recovering person to act against these impulses and feelings in order to win out against the disease.

Sometimes, even at meetings, people can feel rather isolated, or feeling “alone in a crowded room” as the saying goes. That is why that, especially at young people's meetings, there is something referred to as “fellowship” after the meetings, which is where people get together and hang out at a coffee shop or a restaurant and get to know each other more.

Breaking Isolation

Despite the call for anonymity, there are benefits to things like social media sites, as well. Someone who is caught in the isolation of their disease, especially a newcomer, can find great benefit to something like a social media site for people who are in recovery. In such a place, they can find another community of like-minded people who have had the same experiences and troubles that they do.

They can find out where good meetings are, or maybe run in to someone that they already know who they can feel comfortable with. They can also find links to other websites with material pertaining to recovery, as well as maybe some kind of medical advice for things that their addictions may have brought on.

And in these places, anonymity does not necessarily have to be broken. There are ways to hide who you are on the internet via things such as usernames. In todays age of mass communication and social media, someone who is in recovery can definitely find some great benefit to using these resources to further their recovery. 

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

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