friends drinking and using social media

Dealing with Drinking and Social Media

It’s hard to scroll through a social media feed without seeing one or more mentions of alcohol. This is especially true right now with a pandemic going on. Many social activities place an emphasis on alcohol or access to drinks, and this culture is presently online at many social media sites. Drinking and social media can be hard to navigate when you’re in recovery from a substance abuse treatment program or struggling with alcohol abuse. Here are a few ways it can negatively impact you.

Relapse Triggers

You do your best to avoid alcohol during the recovery process. However, it’s such a ubiquitous part of social media that drinking and social media often go hand-in-hand. Friends may post pictures or videos of their drinks of the day. Dinners are typically accompanied by alcohol. You may also see events that center entirely around drinking such as beer and wine festivals. Every post contributes to the triggers that could lead you to relapse during your recovery, especially during the early stages. While some social networks have filtering tools that can help you minimize posts containing certain keywords, not everyone is going to think of tagging the fact that their content includes alcohol.

Unfollowing people can be an option. However, it’s easy to run into a situation where you want to continue following friends and family on social networks. At The Right Step Hill Country, we help you make friends who are interested in doing sober activities and help you in your recovery.

Social Acceptance of Alcohol Abuse

Many types of alcohol abuse are upheld as routine and socially acceptable behaviors. This type of content comes in many forms, such as:

  • Wine mom culture
  • People doing keg stands
  • Drinking competitions
  • Bragging about the amount of alcohol they drink during a quarantine
  • Talking about drinking for stress relief and other forms of self-medication

Due to how commonplace drinking is in American culture, people on social media don’t necessarily recognize that these behaviors are alcohol abuse. They make an assumption that only a stereotypical set of symptoms relating to alcoholism qualifies as substance abuse. If you point out the problematic nature of their content, you could see pushback or have relationships damaged.

Peer Pressure

If you avoid activities that center around alcohol and go out of your way to turn down party invitations from people who always have alcohol at their houses, you may end up being peer pressured on social media. Some people have a hard time being told “no” in general. Or, they don’t understand the importance that staying sober is for you. You could end up being on the receiving end of multiple people questioning why you’re not going to get-togethers.

If you struggle with substance abuse disorder and are getting out of rehab, it is a great idea to get involved in an alumni program that helps you talk to other people about the difficulties of recovery such as social media.

Fear of Missing Out

Seeing people having a good time on social media, especially at events you didn’t get to attend, can create a fear of missing out. You worry that you’re missing out on important things in your life when you don’t attend these types of events. You may even convince yourself that you should go. The fear of missing out occurs in other areas of life as well, due to the way that social media accounts tend to focus on the highlight reel of people’s lives. You’re seeing all of the good with none of the bad, which can lead to a skewed perspective on things.

Content and Ads on Drinking and Social Media

Social media platforms make money by selling ads and promoted content space to companies, which appear on your newsfeed. The companies can target the users they want to advertise to based on many criteria. For example, they could choose broad demographic information like ages and geographic locations. Or, they could focus on people who have specific interests. You could find yourself going through social media and encountering this promoted content and advertising, even if you manage to avoid alcohol-related posts within your social circle.

If you’re worried about the impact that drinking and social media will have on your recovery process, contact us The Right Step Hill Country at 1.844.675.1628 to talk about coping mechanisms and other ways to get the support you need.

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