Sobriety from Social Media Addiction Is Like Giving up Alcohol
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, depression, and other illness worse.
But, more than that, this was a soul knowing. A knowing that I had a choice and that this choice was not only about me, but also my ancestors. And countless generations. And cycles on repeat.
I could choose to continue, or choose to just stop.
More hinged on this choice than the physical. Despite vain yet valid worries about how alcohol affects skin and aging and organs, I was fairly certain that — physically — I could pull it off. That I could get away with continuing to drink and continuing a cycle that stretched through too many faces and ages.
Yes, in choosing that, I’d be poisoning my body. I’d be accelerating or causing all manner of conditions and deteriorations that, in a few decades if not sooner, would make my quality of life…less than.
Yet, no one would know. First, because alcohol’s impact is often insidious and…