The use of technology and digital media can present many challenges for those navigating their recovery from drugs or alcohol. However, they can also be powerful tools to further each person’s recovery efforts. Balancing and moderating the use of technology can be instrumental in helping those in recovery connect with like-minded peers and share effective recovery goals and practices while also maintaining a culture of motivation and progress that can benefit recovery at any stage.
The Dangers of Technology and Digital Media
Digital media, despite their potential benefits and advantages in recovery, can also present some unique challenges. For some, commercials or advertisements for alcoholic products strewn across digital spaces can be incredibly trying, bringing unwanted urges and cravings. However, social media can be detrimental as seeing others engaging with the substances can be just as trying. This can even cause an individual to romanticize their time using these substances or ignore their more destructive effects as a result of glorified substance use in media.
Others engaging in social media or digital mediums may inadvertently adjust their perceptions of themselves. It is common for technology to cause those in recovery to draw unfair comparisons between themselves and others. However, these comparisons often ignore the differences in life experiences, opportunities, and much more that all inform each person’s unique life and journey. Judging oneself by another’s metric can bring intense feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, and digital media can exacerbate the stress that this creates.
Despite its dangers, technology can also be a tool to facilitate continued healing throughout recovery. Using it appropriately can birth a host of benefits for those both beginning their recovery journey or working toward their next recovery milestone in sobriety.
The Benefits of Technology in Recovery
Technology can provide many benefits, from helping an individual best cope with stress to exploring new therapeutic strategies, expanding self-care routines, and connecting to peers to challenge feelings of isolation. However, it is important to understand how to best utilize technology to embrace these benefits without exposing oneself to technology’s more adverse effects.
Getting Connected to Peers
Addiction and recovery can both be very isolating experiences, with those overcoming the disease often feeling alone in their challenges, misunderstood, or otherwise ostracized by others. However, technology can connect those in recovery to peers navigating their own sober journey, creating new feelings of camaraderie and belonging that can address any prevalent feelings of isolation.
Using dedicated, recovery-focused apps can help an individual connect to peers effectively without having to dredge through other, more potentially dangerous mediums. Apps like SoberGrid are dedicated social media apps intended and curated for those in recovery, while websites like Reddit host communities such as r/REDDITORSINRECOVERY dedicated to helping those in recovery connect with others, share stories, and deconstruct stigmas all in a moderated forum. Using these mediums to connect with others who understand the plights and challenges faced throughout the recovery process can be instrumental in improving motivation and mental health while developing a sense of community.
Finding New Ideas
Recovery is a personal journey, and no two journeys will be the same. However, it is always possible to pull new ideas and practices from others. For some, feelings of stagnation in their recovery path may need outside input or new ideas to push through challenging times. Using technology to search for new ideas and perspectives throughout recovery, self-care routines, and even therapeutic approaches that were effective can all provide new things to try at each stage of recovery.
Others may engage with technology more directly while pursuing new ideas or outlets in recovery. The use of media or cinema therapy, or using film and digital mediums to conduct character studies, enhance therapeutic role-playing, and more, can be instrumental in better understanding oneself and others throughout the recovery process.
Fostering Self-Care and Challenging Boredom
Boredom is a silent but difficult obstacle to overcome in recovery. It is common for those overcoming the use of drugs or alcohol to feel unsure about what to do with the swell of newfound free time in the absence of the use of addictive substances. Finding ways to fill this time is crucial for placating urges and cravings throughout recovery, and technology can provide new self-care outlets to challenge boredom. Using movies, television, video games, or even using one’s phone to track sporting events or engage with a sports fan community are all great ways to use technology to challenge boredom and minimize its influence or the risks of slips and relapse as a result of it.
Staying Accountable for the Use of Technology
While technology can have a number of benefits, it is paramount that each individual carefully monitors their use of technology in recovery. For some, technology and social media can develop into their own replacement addition if unmonitored. For others, ensuring that these outlets remain positive rather than damaging is essential. Avoiding the compulsive need to check social media and cleaning the home page on a person’s device to display just the essentials can mitigate engagement with these mediums until a person has a dedicated reason to do so.
Technology can have many benefits, but it is best used as an addendum to other practices and effective therapeutic techniques and is not a replacement for them. Using technology to further personal recovery goals while continuing to engage in in-person social events can create a comprehensive and transformational recovery strategy.
Technology can have many benefits for those in recovery, and learning the skills to use technology as a resource can help mitigate its more dangerous effects. We at Buena Vista Recovery are committed to helping you not only challenge urges and cravings but embrace the best recovery practices for your ongoing sober life. We can personalize your time with us to embrace the benefits technology has to offer throughout your recovery journey. Recovery is a wholly transformative experience, and our comprehensive approach to sobriety, coupled with an atmosphere of peers and professionals ready to support each other, can help you. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call us today at (480) 741-9414 or complete a contact form.