Addiction is an every-day battle. Mornings are struggles to wake up, nights are long and fitful. Mantras against substance abuse become the only words in the internal vocabulary. Recovering from addiction is as much a state of being as the addiction process itself. Many people have only those in support groups to help them through this hard time in their lives.
However, as technology changes, so too does the life of an addict. With the invention of Facebook and Twitter has come a new form of support system. This one includes family, friends, support group members, and perhaps even the addict’s sponsor, all accessible with a few clicks of a mouse. Social media has created a web of people, all interlocking and coming together no matter how many miles separate them. This can be an addict’s greatest ally.
It is midnight. There are no support groups in session, and an addict has that familiar nagging urge again. His sponsor is asleep; his best friends are occupied elsewhere. A decade before, he would have nowhere to turn. Now, however, he needs only to log online to reach out to someone.
In most cases, addicts, by nature, are seeking help. Some of them do not know where to find it, or how to go about using their resources. The ability to vent all of their frustrations and emotions to someone through an online chat, or even just a general status update, can show them that there are people out there that care about them. The online community is an invaluable means to communicate with other people. Facebook has hundreds of groups for addiction recovery with members posting their own stories and connecting through chat or other means. Twitter has thousands of updates every day, and many useful feeds to follow such as @AddictionJrnl, @serenitynews. and @NCADDNational that offer self-help tips to follow and give links to articles about addiction.
There are even websites out there to help addicts connect with others like them through chat or forums. Sites such as addictiontribe.com and cyberrecovery.net were designed specifically with addicts in mind, connecting people together with similar problems. They have links to help find recovery centers, support groups, and even spiritual recovery. Sometimes it just helps to see that you are not alone, and that there are many others out there with the same problems.
It is clear that social media is a wonderful tool to help the recovering addict. It provides 24-hour support seven days a week and promotes the desire to talk it out, rather than reserve all of your emotions for yourself. However, using social media is not a substitute for face-to-face interactions. Those suffering from addiction of any kind need help from real people and should seek support from a therapist, group support systems, or in extreme cases, rehabilitation.
Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at Refrigerators.org