We’ve talked a lot about social media in our blogs and articles. We’ve covered the dangers for teens and the ways it can help teens.
Most content about social media and teens focuses on the negative aspects.
Even when it’s not promoting unsafe behavior, social media can still undermine self-esteem. Influencers’ exotic vacations, romantic lives, and seemingly flawless lifestyles can inspire envy and self-loathing in vulnerable adolescents, or can lead to unhealthy pressure to “keep up with the Kardashians.”
For that reason, social media is often considered a negative force in teens’ lives. For all of its dangers, social media should be carefully monitored and limited. In fact, immediately before discharging from a mental health and substance abuse rehab program, therapists often sit with teens for a social media talk. They go through their phones together to create an effective social media policy and delete any friends, or accounts, who’d be toxic to the teen’s recovery.
But now a new type of influencer is hitting social media: the sober influencer.
Sober Influencers, as they’re known, share their own recovery from substance abuse to inspire hope and encouragement to others. Through funny memes, before-and-after photos, #MiracleMondays, and more, they promote substance-abuse and mental health treatment. Offering a counterpoint to the glorification of drugs and alcohol, their entire message is that Sober is cool.
Take Michelle Smith, for example. She promotes sober mothering via her platform, @recoveryisthenewblack, where she posts daily messages of self-care and stories from recovery. In her posts, she talks a lot about mental health and the 12 Steps. She frequently posts the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, and shares self-soothe ideas (like her favorite essential oils.) She also posts funny sober-related memes, like “Your recovery isn’t Amazon Prime: it’s not going to show up in 2 days.”
Other sober Instagrammers include @sobermovement, who compiles before-and-after stories of everyday people who became sober. Or Catherine Gray, author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (@theunexpectedjoyof).
An Important Disclaimer
Of course, it goes without saying that just following these accounts won’t do the work for you. These Influencers aren’t therapists. They are not detox programs. They don’t intend to be substitutes for professional substance abuse treatment. But their sobriety-promoting accounts can inspire teens to enter a drug or alcohol rehab program. Or, they can serve as encouraging tools to help teens maintain their sobriety and help teens visualize what a healthy lifestyle looks like after rehab – and that’s a good thing.