Sobriety from Social Media Addiction Is Like Giving up Alcohol

Well, this feels familiar.

Dana Leigh Lyons
12 min readMay 27, 2023

Four notes before we begin: 1) I’m not into prescriptive, self-help-y writing these days. Please know that everything that follows is directed towards me as much as you. 2) I write about digital addiction here, but my experience of that (and getting out of it) is inseparable from my experience of getting sober from alcohol. The parallels in awareness and what helps are very alive for me at present. 3) If you’re just here for the digital bit, you’ll find it below. If you’re eager to skip the alcohol bit, well, that’s very interesting. 4) I’m rarely on Medium these days (which I speak to below). For more reads, find me on Substack here.

During Fall 2019, months before getting sober, momentum was building. By that point, all I was drinking was wine with dinner (meaning, that’s the only type of alcohol I consumed and the only time I consumed it). Still, the cognitive dissonance I felt around drinking any alcohol was reaching a tipping point. I found myself averse to all things booze…and drawn towards all things sober.

By “cognitive dissonance,” I mean the internal conflict, weight, and claustrophobia of continuing to do a thing that I knew was unhealthy in all the ways. This knowing was intellectual, yes. I understood the science. I was 100-percent aware that alcohol is a cancer-causing neurotoxin and nephrotoxin and systemic toxin that accelerates aging, shrinks the brain, wrecks metabolism, and makes anxiety…