As a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, you no doubt have a good sense of the dangers of indulging in certain kinds of excess, from sugar to social media. After all, drinking or using drugs to excess is what allows a substance use disorder to get its hooks in you in the first place.
Once your recovery journey is underway, however, you may believe that your tendency toward excess is behind you. Sure, you have to remain vigilant and dedicated to your sobriety, but you have several tools on hand to help keep you from getting into the behaviors and thought patterns you worked so hard to escape.
But it turns out there are other things in the world that can upend your recovery: overindulgence in something that in moderation is not too harmful or allowing something that is harmful to get worse over time.
Let’s explore the ways in which excessive sugar, stress, and social media can undermine your recovery.
Sugar Goes from Sweet to Sour
Most everyone has a sugary snack or beverage they really enjoy. Maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies. Or perhaps you like to add sugar to your coffee. Maybe there is a candy bowl at the office, and you indulge in your fair share (or even a little more). The point is that most of us like sugar, and it is easy to come by.
But here’s the thing: For a person in recovery, sugar can stand in for a drug. Consuming sugar can lead to a rush followed by a crash that mimics, to some degree, the experience of taking drugs. And that cycle of rushes and crashes has a similar effect—you end up wanting more sugar so that you can experience the rushes while you are fending off the crashes.
So, sugar can easily become a substitute addiction. Meanwhile, consuming too much sugar can have serious consequences for your overall health. And in the worst-case scenario, too much reliance on sugar for mini highs can get you craving the big highs that drugs or alcohol used to provide.
As a result, it is important to be careful about the amount of sugar you consume while staying focused on a healthy diet that bolsters, rather than undermines, your sobriety.
Standing Up to Stress
Sometimes it feels like we are all addicted to stress. We overschedule our lives in ways that are not healthy or helpful to finding peace of mind. Arguably, our culture encourages this via something known as the “cult of busyness”—the idea that being busy confers a certain kind of status to you.
But the reality is that as stress builds up, it can have extremely negative impacts on your physical and mental health. And a person in recovery who is experiencing persistently high levels of stress may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to manage that stress.
That danger makes it essential that you find healthy ways to manage stress so that your sobriety is protected.
Stop the Doomscrolling
While reading through your feeds on various social media platforms can be a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family, there is plenty of reason to be cautious about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest—especially when you are in recovery.
Plenty of studies suggest that excessive social media use can damage a person’s self-esteem, increase levels of anxiety, and subject users to misinformation about many important topics—including issues related to health and well-being. Any and all of those things can pose a direct danger to your ongoing sobriety.
So, if you frequently find yourself scrolling and scrolling through your feeds—a process often called doomscrolling, especially when all the scrolling tends to reinforce the notion that everything is awful all of the time—it is probably time to set some limits on your social media use. You can get the benefits of being part of a social media community while minimizing the negative aspects that might threaten your sobriety.
Skip the Sugar and Start Your Recovery Journey Sooner Rather Than Later
When you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, it can be tempting to resist getting the help you need. Maybe you are embarrassed. Maybe you are frightened. Maybe you just can’t manage to wrap your head around the details of getting into treatment.
All of those feelings are understandable. Still and all, the right time to get help addressing a substance use disorder is always right now. At Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Indiana, we offer expertise, compassion, and a commitment to a continuum of care so that you can begin your recovery journey with confidence. Don’t wait. We are ready when you are.