Using Social Media in a Positive Manner to Spread the Message of Hope and Freedom
By: Rose Lockinger
Social media usually gets a bad rap. It is usually looked at as a false representation of reality that feeds narcissistic tendencies among a younger generation of exhibitionists. There have been studies done that indict the direct correlation between time spent on social media and depression and many people are outwardly against this new form of communication. However it has to be said that it can be used for good and for the disease of addiction it is making a difference in raising awareness and allowing for increased connection for all who struggle with the belief that they are alone.
People say that sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are destroying people’s ability to physically interact with each other and they see a Wall-E type world ahead of us if things continue. But for all of the ills heaped onto social networks, it also has the capacity for great good and the ability to connect people from all around the world. To this regard, social media is almost perfectly situated to help spread the message of recovery and to help isolated peoples connect with others.
It is no secret that alcoholism and addiction are isolating diseases. They are diseases that seek to take a person away from any and all human contact so that the disease can grow unimpeded and eventually destroy the person who it inhabits. Since many people who are currently in active alcoholism or addiction find themselves in such isolation, being able to use social media in order to hear a message of hope can sometimes be a good segue into recovery.
It can be a gap between their isolation and the world and for people who are too scared or not yet to seek out recovery in real life, virtually exploring the option can be a great alternative. There will be some who say that if you do not have the willingness to seek out recovery in the physical world then you are not yet ready, but I believe that any and all means that we can use to combat these deadly illnesses should be employed.
Even for people who are not isolated and in their active addiction, social media can be used positively. For instance, people who are already in recovery can use social media in order to connect with other recovered peoples from around their state, country, or the world, and they can also expand their horizons and find out about recovery events that they may not have otherwise known about.
I’m not sure about you but I have received numerous invites to recovery related events via Facebook and I have also, through my blogging and writing, been able to connect with people from around the country over various topics. This is something that I really enjoy doing and it always opens my eyes to new perspectives and ideas. Whenever I post a new article and see feedback from someone that I do not know, it excites me and a few times I have been able to have spirited discussions with these people.
Social media also expands a person’s ability to relate with others and as people in recovery we often times need this. Alcoholism and addiction wreaks havoc on a person’s life and so the rebuilding process can sometimes be lengthy. The more people that you are able to seek help from, in terms of relating to your problems and overcoming them, the better chance you stand to heal from your wounds. So social media allows people to have access to thousands and thousands of collected experiences that extend well beyond their geographic setting. By doing this it allows people to not have to feel alone if they cannot find someone in their immediate vicinity who has suffered the same things as them.
It is interesting though because sometimes people do not want to use social media in order to expand their recovery. Due to the anonymity of the 12 Step Programs you will often hear people say that they do not post anything relating to their recovery on the Internet. While each person has their right to do this, I personally believe that by hiding behind anonymity we allow for misunderstanding and societal stigmas to prevail against our disease.
By not putting ourselves out there and using the platform of social media to help raise awareness to what alcoholism and addiction truly are, we may prevent others from seeking help and this is something that I never want to do. I don’t want to come off as harsh here because I do understand why some people would chose to keep their personal life personal, but it has just always been concerning to me that in recovery we are told to hide the biggest truth about our lives, when no other disease has this same requirement.
Think about it is this way. A person with diabetes is never told by their doctor not to tell others about their diabetes. But yet in recovery we are told to not expose this fact of our lives, even though the diseases of alcoholism and addiction affect many people in the same manner as other illnesses. I believe that by generating awareness through the technological advances we have been given, we can help to move the discussion around addiction forward and in turn help more people recover.
Regardless of this fact though, social media is a great tool when it comes to spreading the message of hope and freedom that recovery has to offer. By letting your recovery flag fly and sharing your experience, strength, and hope, there is no telling who you could impact and in what way you may help another person.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.