Navigating Social Media... Sober
I wish someone told me how to navigate social media when I got sober...
I'm one month shy of my 21st birthday, attending my junior year of college in Los Angeles, and trying to accept my powerlessness over alcohol in the midst of the constant glorification of partying on social media.
Practically everyone I was following on Instagram and Facebook posted pictures of their 21st birthday drink, which was on average the size of Mount Vesuvius, and they looked so put together and happy. They weren't crying, alone, on their couch with a bottle of Sky vodka and Diet Coke (with lime) watching How I Met Your Mother, wishing they had such dedicated friends... Or just one friend.
They were happy, outgoing, and... normal.
"Why can't I drink normally? Maybe if I just try it again, I could drink like a proper lady! I'm too young to be sober; at 20 can you even have an alcohol problem?"
These thoughts overwhelmed me at the end of my Facebook newsfeed. I never closed out of a social media app with a sense of accomplishment and motivation, but rather an overwhelming feeling of self-pity, discouragement, and discomfort.
If you're feeling triggered by social media, here are 13 helpful ways to maintain your online presence but avoid crushing your soul in the process.
Tip #1: Follow Cool Sober People & Communities
There are lots of incredible sober communities on social media, it just takes a little bit of research. Good thing you have us!
Like Sober Quotes - They update their page every day with great quotes to make your sobriety just a little bit easier... every day!
Or Sober Society. They post funny and inspirational sober pictures every day. Generally, they talk about coffee. Figures!
Party sober clothing is another great sober community. Plus, they sell really awesome apparel! Yes, you can party sober.
Sober is sexy is not only a great clothing brand, but a really awesome tagline... Because, we are sexier sober.
Tip #2: Inspired by a particular person? Follow them; you're not a groupie... Just an open heart.
Who inspires you? Maybe it's the way that they rock their own personal styles; maybe it's the bits of their soul that they pen for the world to read; maybe it's their philanthropy; or maybe you don't have a particular person who inspires you. If you cannot think of anyone, here are some of the people I look up to, and why.
Maybe Paulo Coelho's deep thoughts make you feel more in tune with the world.
Maybe Sophia Bush makes you feel empowered as a human being.
Maybe Krissy Mae Cagney's passion for fitness, sobriety, and a healthy lifestyle makes you feel the warm and fuzzies!
Or, maybe James Franco's extensive educational background paired with carefree humor cracks you up...
Tip #3: Create a 'Sobriety' board on Pinterest (and make it 'private' if you'd like)
Proving you can have more fun than anyone else, sober is always the best feeling. To be honest, I've had more fun sober than I've ever had when drinking/using. Join the club!
Tip #4: It's OK to 'unfollow' or block people on social media
I wish somebody told me this when I first got sober. I thought that sadness and jealousy was my cross to bare when I got sober; I must sit and watch people have more fun than me. Fortunately, this is not the case! It's OK to unfollow people who post too many drunk pictures, or block your old dealers or using friends. Nobody is going to punish you, and they probably won't realize it anyway...
Tip #5: If they're a really good friend or a family member, you can just stop notifications
P.S. We did not actually unfollow this person, it is simply for demonstrative purposes.
Tip #6: Change your phone background to a motivational quote for a post-social media pick-me-up
Even if you've unfollowed and unfriended everyone who gave you anxiety, social media can be very exhausting. The best solution is to change the background on your phone to a motivational quote, so you have an instant pick-me-up after you close out your social media applications.
Something like this...
Or something like this...
Maybe even this common go-to!
Tip #7: Follow funny profiles, post funny stuff, just have fun!
In many discussions with my sponsor, we determined that social media was a trigger for me; not just in regards to alcohol, but it triggers my insecurities. So, we made a plan to make social more fun! Here are the questions I ask before I post something on social media:
- Would this post make someone feel bad about themselves, or make people feel good?
- Am I trying to impress someone? Don't post it.
- Is this a joy for someone to see? Post it.
- Would it make me mad to see it in my own timeline? Don't post it.
I love these guidelines. It keeps social media airy and fun for me, and hopefully it helps you, too.
Tip #8: Have a passion? Let social media be a source of inspiration.
I've been really into fitness lately, so I've organized my Instagram (only social media site I have) so that it provides a constant source of healthy lifestyle motivation for me. So, every time I leave my Instagram, I have new ideas for recipes, new exercises, and lots and lots of good workout clothes!
Tip #9: Join sober groups on Facebook!
If you're protecting your anonymity, you can join either closed or private groups.
These are a great way to remember why you got sober in the first place, when you're on social media.
Tip #10: Stop before you stalk.
Stalking doesn't look good on anyone... Even when you're stalking alone, in your bed, while watching Netflix. More often than not, you will end up 'liking' a photo from 5 years ago on accident. Trust me.
This is what you look like...
This is what you end up doing.
Tip #11: Join a gratitude list.
How beautiful is this?! Staying in gratitude on social media is the best way to remain humble.
Tip #12: It's OK to delete your Facebook, your Instagram, your Pinterest, or whatever.
You don't have to keep your social media accounts if they constantly bring you negativity! It's OK to delete them. Deleting my Facebook was the best decision I have made thus far. Teetering on deleting my Instagram, as well. If you need advice on how to get yourself to actually click 'delete' you can email me at email@example.com
Tip #13: Your real friends will call you, send you a letter via carrier pigeon if they have to.
Don't settle for social media friendship...
Pick up the phone and call a sober person. 9/10 you end up grabbing coffee,