Letting Go of Your Cell Phone- The first step to successful recovery!
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
Perhaps the scariest thing about going into long-term treatment is cutting all ties with the outside world. This usually, in most cases, means specific phone privileges, no computer and perhaps the most horrifying in the modern age; handing over your cell-phone.....
I remember when I committed to an extended sober living community I, Iike most, was very relieved. First of all, exhausted, at least for now everyone will be off my back and at the very least I quickly started to warm to the idea that for once I would be just like everyone around me. No longer do I wake from pitiful amount sleep. Hopefully just enough rest so I could go forth another day to attempt to conquer the unnavigable matrix of overlapping obstacles that helped get me towards the booze, and dope so I could continue to sleep through whatever life my addiction was going to allow me to have. But seriously, people behind the desk, “Do you HAVE to take away my cell phone?” “What am I gonna do in those socially awkward moments where looking at Facebook is my only escape?” “ I’m missing out on so much social media and email, where my unmanageable life was made to feel okay. Now I don’t even have that.” Guess what gentlemen, it wasn’t doing you any favors before and in fact your relationship with the internet and all of its distractions was just another in the long list of problems that you took on board to help you avoid yourself.
It’s all rooted in social anxiety. If your story is the same as most, some time in your teen years when you were an awkward, pubescent, whipper-snapper who, let’s be honest had things ‘all figured out’ you started to party. Now as much as this was about social engagement, the lubricants you indulged in actually shoved you away from connecting to other people. The beer, the weed, the coke, the whatever reinforced the mask that allowed you to be the badass. Now with your blood thinned and not filling your brain with reason and accountability you could stand up to people, you could damage that car, approach that girl, and do everything you have seen in the movies to make you acceptable. At that age, what’s less appealing than ‘the real you?’ As time goes on and we venture into our adult years the team of our addiction and our ego will be damned if we’re going to let down our guard and change. This isn’t who we’ve become, it’s who we’ve always been. Perception is key, and as long as we have a mask that we can control leading the way, we can be anyone. There is no greater mask than the anonymity of social media.
Don’t be mistaken. For normal people, there are several benefits and joys of Facebook, Instagram and all that stuff. It can be a fun great way to keep in touch with people and socialize with those who had previously fallen off our radar as long as we use it in moderation. However, we the chosen addicts aren’t friends with moderation, and we certainly aren’t normal. How many times have Facebook posts made us angry to the point that we stewed over them for hours? How often do we send texts that we would never say to the person face to face that we wind up regretting? Whether it be lashing out, hitting on someone or just telling straight up lies we all have a tendency to hide behind this digital mask. And why not? There aren’t immediate repercussions. Here’s the thing, before you know it you’ve racked up mountains of resentments that you weren’t even aware of and better yet, don’t remember. In the beginning of recovery it’s ideal that you stay away from it. Do the work and I promise you’ll get it back and a whole lot more.
In sobriety you must build a strong foundation of basic function and emotional stability to deal with any kind of confrontation. Not to mention the waves of shame and regret that can hit you from viewing the world outside of recovery before you’ve had a chance to prepare. Focus on the world two feet in front of you. You’ll be amazed at the profound effect live human interaction can have on your life, especially with those who are likely going through the EXACT same thing as you. It’s really a privilege to share experiences with people riding the same wave and a relief from having to compare your life to others.
You’re all in the same boat and social media isn’t a reality. It’s a controlled presentation. So really, it’s a luxury to lose the phone. One less distraction. One less thing in your pocket. One less bill to pay. One less thing to lose when you’re wasted. Reconnect with the lost art of the postcard and letter writing. You’ve got the gift of learning how to live and for now, it’s best you do that without any distractions. You’re more important than you’ve ever known and it’s time to let go.
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