What is the relationship between social media and substance abuse?
We live in a digital world. Some of the most well-traveled places in it are social media websites. Social media can have a positive or negative influence on addiction recovery, depending on many factors. A person fresh out of addiction treatment might use social media to reconnect with an old using partner or drug dealer. Or, they may simply see images of their former friends partying, making it difficult to focus on recovery. However, that same person who just got out of treatment could use social media to connect with people met in treatment and form an informal support group.
Almost anyone in recovery will tell you that a sober social network to share struggles and triumphs with is incredibly valuable.
While the in-person experience of attending recovery meetings, like AA or other 12-step programs, is irreplaceable, true camaraderie can be found on the web. For an individual living in an isolated area or unable to leave home, this online contact is crucial. Online support can also supplement in-person meetings and provide more opportunities for sober friendships and activities, regardless of distance.
Some social network groups are designed to help sober people find roommates.
An individual interested in what people do for fun in sobriety could search their social networking accounts for hashtags pertaining to sobriety. Much in the way that a hammer can be used to build or destroy something, social media can strengthen an individual’s sobriety or tear it down. The responsibility to do the right thing with the tools they have available falls on the person using them.