While we all come from different backgrounds and engage in different cultural practices and beliefs, the vast majority of society is currently impacted by social media; this is the one common thread that so many of us are connected by. Today’s technological advances are huge blessings to each one of us in many different ways and we want to acknowledge the great impact that they have. That being said, with great impacts come great power and social media, (one of the most prevalent forms of technology), is one of the most powerful sources in existence today. Although it can often be used for good in recovery, it can also be very dangerous.

For example, social media as well as the internet in general has been proven to be an extremely addictive source. This plays into addiction recovery as it is very easy, as well as socially acceptable, to simply fill the void of an addictive substance such as alcohol or drugs with Instagram likes and Facebook posts. One of the largest dangers in the world of addiction and recovery is growing out of one addictive substance and inadvertently replacing it with another addictive source, and social media creates an open platform to do just that.

Unfortunately, the reliance that society holds upon social media platforms strongly resembles the reliance that many people struggle with in terms of alcohol and drug abuse. This can be seen in multiple facets shown in the relationship between society and the internet as a whole. For example, many modern day society members cannot go a mere day or even a week without their social media platforms and/or internet. If they try to go without it, adverse emotional and physical limitations can arise such as poor moods, confusion, not knowing how to get somewhere or how to do something, (etc.). Simply think about how people of the past did life without the internet or social media – seems difficult yes? Many of us know what this life was like because we lived it, and yet social media is now a normal part of our daily lives. Whether we have our own personal social media accounts, follow major social media platforms and creators, or simply are active in society such as restaurants, bars, or stores, we are constantly bombarded with social media driven marketing and efforts. This means that the temptation to use social media in the wrong way is surrounding us on the daily.

Social media is also dangerous because of the images that it presents. Social media is a mask that we all wear, showing the parts of our life that we want to draw attention to. Notice, we didn’t say the good parts because sometimes we crave attention for negative situations as well. Whatever the case may be, social media platforms are used to mask the parts we don’t want people to see and highlight the parts that we do want people to see. No one posts the picture where they think they look fat or bald. No one posts the video where they were being rude because they were having a rough day. No one posts the moments they sit alone and cry because they are simply so overwhelmed with life. In other words, social media presents the facade that we all wish to use to veil our insecurities and shortcomings. This can be dangerous because we might be growing through a rough patch, while all we see on our phones and computers are people flourishing and living their best lives; all the while these people are struggling just like you, but it can be very discouraging to see how well others are doing when you struggling to wake up and get through each day in recovery. As humans, it is in our nature to compare ourselves with others, and we do so every time we scroll through social media. Whether we do this consciously or subconsciously, it can be detrimental to our recovery process.

As you can see, social media can do more harm than good if not monitored or controlled in the proper manner. This does not mean that social media is bad, or wrong, or cannot be helpful. In fact, there are many apps and pages that can be quite supportive and motivational throughout your recovery process. Simply put, learning to limit your screen time and hold proper perspective while using social media can be a make or break moment for your recovery, so use social media wisely.