Should You Use Instagram to Talk About Your Recovery Journey?

The advent of social media has made sharing – and oversharing – a common situation, even a problem. For example, if sharing your addiction recovery journey on Instagram, make sure that you don’t misuse this resource.

Stress and Adverse Emotions Make Recovery Harder

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is challenging for many reasons, including that the stress and negative emotions it causes make recovery more difficult.

For example, a person may struggle to focus on their psychological and behavioral adjustment processes if they are stressed or anxious. This may cause psychosomatic effects that make withdrawal more painful, prolonging addictive behaviors. Managing the stress becomes necessary before rehab can begin, but substance use—which may have begun as self-medication for stress and anxiety—makes this more difficult. 

This may be difficult to express or share on social media. 

Self-Disclosure Requires a Careful Balance

Rehab demands a different type of sharing— sharing with your therapist, your physician, the members of your support group—and is confidential. People who share their emotions during recovery find that this is a great way to vent and regain a happy and healthy balance in life. 

People who share on Instagram have no such confidentiality. Anything shared there may be used against them by people of questionable intent. They also must be careful not to violate the privacy of anyone they meet in a drug or alcohol rehab center

Telling somebody—or many people via Instagram—about your addiction recovery is a type of self-disclosure that puts you in a very vulnerable position. Still, you may feel significant relief from sharing this information with others around you.

For example, documenting your recovery on Instagram using photos of the facility—with their permission—may let the people around you know what you are experiencing without having to have a hundred separate conversations. However, be aware of the Johari Window.

The Johari Window

The Johari Window is a construct that helps you determine what you share on Instagram and what should stay private information for good. It includes four “panes”::  

  • Open Pane. Information you want others to know. 
  • Blind Pane. Information that people see in you that you cannot see. 
  • Hidden Pane. Information you want to keep a secret. 
  • Unknown Pane. Information that nobody, even you, does not understand yourself.

Anything embarrassing or compromising to your recovery should be kept behind the Hidden Pane. 

Self-disclosure does not mean you must overshare every detail of your life during or after the recovery process. 

Using Instagram Safely

Before you use Instagram during recovery, consider:

  • The things you want to share.
  • Things that should stay behind the Hidden Pane for the sake of you and the rehab.
  • How to keep your personal information safe, such as never sharing your location, using a virtual private network (VPN), and never friending someone on Instagram who you don’t know personally.

By protecting your personal information, you ensure that nobody can use it against you later, such as when you apply for a job. It doesn’t matter if they can’t ask you about it if you’ve already revealed the information on social media. And employers do check. 

So, only friend people you already know IRL, and make the posts private. You may lose in social media penetration but you’ll gain in online security protection and keep the prying eyes of questionable people out of your rehab journey.

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