Social media–helpful or harmful?

16 Aug

8:46 am

Ahh, social media. Suffice to say, I think we all have love-hate relationships with it.

Lately, I have been quiet: head down, working, job searching, and really, simply trying to enjoy life outside of the computer screen once I actually manage to turn it off. The writing is on the wall (literally, since I’m a writer) that, while I like what I do–and it’s brought me a lot of pride and sense of accomplishment to have made my living for two years as a freelancer–I don’t earn enough money! I mean, I won’t bore you with the deets again, but I simply need to earn more. And, we’re not talking a little bit more; we’re talking, graduate student loans and supplemental income for my mom and buying a vineyard in Greece before I turn 50 more! I have always been driven, and responsible when it comes to earning my keep–I never received help from my parents. However, these past two years have put me nearly in the red (I am past red, let’s face it).

All that aside, I am doing well. Feeling strong. Recovering from my trip (where I acquired a mosquito-borne illness that among other things, I think, has been contributing to me feeling like the bug and not the windshield many days this month). In a weaker moment, I stood in front of the shelves of wine bottles at the grocery store for about 15 minutes one night, I was feeling that desperate to “fix” my depression.

BUT, my practically sole sane thought was the loudest of the bunch: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Like, what happens after that first bottle, practically speaking? Another bottle? Another $10? Another one? Again, another $10? It really is amazing to find myself thinking rationally about this, to be able to be MINDFUL enough to think past the craving and say, Self, this is not a solution; this IS THE PROBLEM.

I started blogging about getting sober over two years ago. I am on Facebook and will remain on Facebook for professional reasons. I have been able to dodge Twitter, mainly, but not at a cost to my professional life–it’s a cost I’m willing to pay, in exchange for my sanity. I don’t do Instagram, but I think it’d be more difficult to resist if I had a data plan on my phone (which I don’t, because I don’t earn enough money as a freelance writer, which I MIGHT, actually, if I was on Twitter–you see where this rabbit hole is going).

I’m not a stranger to social media, and all the benefits it offers. However, lately, social media has had me perplexed. Vexed. It feels inauthentic, and what’s more, empty. I think that participating in an echo chamber like Twitter, or Facebook, or yes, even these blogs–while amazingly helpful–can be part of the problem. This “thinking problem” that seems to be part of the reason we self-soothe with alcohol, or other substances. We are already so much in our heads–afflicted by ruminative, navel-gazing tendencies–is social media making this better, or worse? Even if it’s GOOD navel-gazing, is it ever really, for “people like us?” For people who need to Turn It Off, more or less? I understand there is a fine line between denial and mindfulness, and I’m having a hard time seeing it these days.

I guess this is why I’ve stayed off this blog for almost two weeks now? I just feel like…forever hashing it out–well, it’s just not working for me the way it used to. Maybe I need to collect myself and move onto a new project? We’ll see…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: after the initial contact–getting sober, seeing your faults, comparing and contrasting everything you do to drinking and then, to abstinence–it’s OK to simply let it go. It really is OK to let it go.

On that note, I’m going to sign off and do just that. πŸ™‚

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12 Responses to “Social media–helpful or harmful?”

  1. losedabooze August 16, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    I completely can relate to sometimes just letting go of the constant ruminating about the issue is what we need to do to truly move forward. You are in a good place and you know what the next steps are for you. I’m still struggling with just staying sober – and yet – still can’t say I’m an alcoholic because I can’t come to admit that I’m powerless over anything. I believe we all have power – what we choose to do with that is up to us. I still blog occasionally but definitely not as often either. This is a good space to come to… and it’s comforting to know and see successes like yours! Inspirational!!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 16, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Thank you! Yes, this gives me a reason to keep blogging–haha. I know, I so KNOW–it’s so hard to come to define “powerlessness” for yourself. I don’t think it has to go beyond just realizing that for whatever reasons, right now (i.e., maybe not in the future, but for now), you just can’t stop after one (or 5), or simply don’t want to. And, bad things happen. I am never not happy to wake up without a hangover, two years later. I am never not amazed by how being sober has really changed my entire life. And, I feel torn bitching about writing about it, when it’s obviously helped me a LOT. Torn, conflicted–I guess I just need to embrace being conflicted, right? Keep plugging–all you have to do is not drink for a while, and see where it takes you/how it helps. HUGS!

  2. CH August 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    How much of recovery is about relating to the “struggle”? This is one reason I am dubious of recovery as I tend to relate my experience to others’ experience of recovery, and slowly their story becomes my story. And part of becoming sober, for me, is learning how to think for myself and stand on my own two feet. Make my own decisions. There are people who just quit booze without all the fuss. I wonder what benefit we could reap from that story? Not much of blog I guess. Entry day 1: I quit booze today. It was a breeze. On with life. That being said, as programs go, reading the occasional blog is pretty low impact, and of course we get to choose who we read and who we choose to influence our own experience. Which is why I read/like your blog, because you often question the same things I question, and it is a relief to know my sobriety is real, even if I am a bit contrarian, and prone to circle the same egotistical thought process. πŸ™‚

    • Running From the Booze August 30, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Well said.

  3. dstarsober August 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    This is a really interesting view, especially as you are so much further down the line than me (I am on Day 7), and reading your blog has certainly inspired me (as have others).

    I totally see your point about “naval-gazing” and my first foray into blogging this week has felt, at times, a little awkward. However, I have found that coming on here & being more “accountable” is helping me at the moment, knowing that others are in the same boat, has been a comfort.

    I hope at some point in the future to be secure and long enough on the way to sobriety to no longer need to record my thoughts (or need other people’s stories to help validate what I am trying to achieve) but for now, in my early days of trying to banish my demon (addiction, obsession, problem – insert whatever tag needed here), this is proving a lifeline in something I am trying to achieve.

    So whether you decide to carry on, or not, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and inspiring people like me, who are only starting on our journey – THANK YOU!

  4. thesobrietydiaries August 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    That rationality you speak about … I was trying to explain the concept of “playing the tape through to the end” to my significant other (this is the most empowering logic for me and it’s kept me sober for 19 days so far). He couldn’t grasp it, because the end of his tape is a couple of glasses of wine and a warm buzz, whereas mine is a monstrous hangover and pant-crappingly bad anxiety. And the bitter regret.

    I think the blogging process, for me anyway, is a mechanism to digest and adjust to the changes of sobriety. It also carries a strong element of accountability. But maybe one day you arrive at a point where you are sober just because you are sober – where sobriety is such an integrated part of you that dwelling on it and stretching it out to look for the underlying threads and poke around at loose ends would be like dwelling on why you fall asleep at night. Maybe you’re there, now?

  5. Moon August 18, 2014 at 7:00 am #

    Just wanted to say thank you for your blog- there are so many out there, so many great ones, but for me, yours is the one that somehow connected to me in that way where I felt like, “I can do this”. I’m around day 150 now. Your writing has truly helped me. Many, many thanks!

  6. Rebecca A. Watson August 18, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    I’m also a perpetual naval gazer and there are times where I just find myself so tired of the whole thing, but I also made myself a promise to live my life trying to be the best person I can be, which means self-improvement and also means accepting me for who I am. I guess recovery is different for everyone, I respect that!! I do!

    But I would hate to lose your posts in my reader 😦 Your writing is so awesome. Do you have to write about booze every time you post? I guess there is no rule that says you do. I certainly don’t on my blog.

    I dunno, I guess I’m trying to say is I get what you’re saying but I also think it’s important to avoid that all-or-nothing thinking that boozers are so prone to. Why can’t we occasionally write blog post? Or post on FB? Or whatever. Just because we’re not successful moderators of booze doesn’t mean we can’t in other areas. At least that’s my opinion. Hugs to you and may your life be filled with loads of opportunities to make quick cash in a way that feels good and fulfills your purpose on this planet. You deserve that vineyard in Greece πŸ˜‰

  7. mynewme40 August 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    The one thing I really noticed about social media after I quit drinking is I lost the compulsion to post things. When I was drinking it was sort of like how you think every thought you have is so witty and funny and simply has to be shared because everyone will be so much better off for it. Once I became sober I realized that most of the things I would post either A) weren’t all that funny/interesting and B) I didn’t care to share things anyway.

    Turns out I’m more of a private person than I ever would have guessed. Who knew?!

  8. merrimj1122 August 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Interesting post! Thanks! I’m new here, did you say you’re moving on and not posting anymore? Let me know, I am so new I just have a “bio” up…

    • Drunky Drunk Girl August 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

      No, I am still here! Glad to see you on here, too. Let’s DO THIS sobriety thing! πŸ™‚

  9. Running From the Booze August 30, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Recovery, it’s an interesting word. When I was a kid it meant you were at home with chicken pox or in the hospital. The recovery culture, to me, feels like a lot of rehashing thoughts and feeling about alcohol. Beyond the early days of quitting, rehashing never felt right. I like feeling of support from the sober sphere, but I also know that I don’t need to recover, I need to move forward. Fab post DDG. πŸ™‚

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