The past few decades have produced some of the most significant technological advances to date. Examples of those advances include the creation of social media sites, the evolution of instant messaging to text messaging on our smartphones, and of course, the smartphone itself. Technology has even come so far as to allow you to speak with people face to face from your phones literally anywhere, thanks to FaceTime.
Additionally, remote work has taken over the employment landscape in the past two years due to the pandemic. Staff meetings, client appointments, and even doctor-patient telehealth appointments can now take place in the comfort of your own home. The virtuality of the modern-day world allows you to make various connections with people worldwide.
While virtual relationships can not precisely replace the benefits of in-person interactions, being able to speak with other people in recovery virtually can help you throughout treatment and offer support during recovery. However, you should be careful with virtual relationships if the people you meet are not who they claim to be.
Benefits of Creating Virtual Connections
Social media allows you to follow and even befriend others you come across through mutual interests or friends. For example, you may choose to become a part of a Facebook group of interest. That includes groups related to drug and alcohol addiction or struggles with mental health. Many of these groups are private, and upon request to enter, you may be prompted to answer a few questions. This privacy practice effectively thins out the ranks of individuals attempting to join the group with ill intentions.
Virtual groups are a great way to start if you are genuinely looking for support. Maybe you are in a more remote location and do not have access to a variety of support groups. While a simple Facebook group will not and should not replace having an in-person support network, it can add another branch of support for you to feel inspired to maintain recovery every single day.
In addition to the motivation and support experienced from social media, virtual connections also help you keep in contact with people who relocate and move away. You or someone you love may have experienced a close friend or confidant in your support group move away. Thanks to text messaging, Facetime, and social media sites, it is possible to stay in contact with those individuals.
You might be skeptical of these virtual connections, but they have been able to foster relationships for people all over the world in various situations. Many organizations even offer virtual recovery resources as a way for you to stay connected. These resources listed from SAMHSA are designed to provide virtual support for mental illnesses and substance use disorders and help you if you are suffering, even if you can not be physically present.
Caution With Virtual Connections
Virtual resources can be full-proof ways for you to access resources when you either can not be physically present or are simply more comfortable with seeking help from the comfort of your own home. The resource list includes those available for all kinds of people in all situations. When creating those virtual connections through social media, it is crucial to be cautious about who you trust and interact with.
For example, online dating has become extremely common in the past couple of decades in addition to social media. Of course, online dating is entirely different from virtual connections for addiction recovery. If you partake in online dating, you may decide to meet in person. It is important to be aware that this can be dangerous, as many on the internet are deceitful about who they are.
If you are fortunate enough to be close to some of the people you connect with over the internet, be safe and cautious whenever you decide to meet them. Safe practices for in-person contact with those you meet over the internet include:
- meeting in a neutral and populated place
- bringing someone you trust along
- having a contingency plan to get out of any situations that may seem unusual or unsafe
In general, virtual connections are also great for when you leave treatment. At the Lakehouse Recovery Center, we believe it is essential for clients to develop relationships with their peers to build up their support system. Thanks to technology, you can maintain those relationships, and even group therapy sessions, long after leaving treatment. Virtual connections may not be for everyone, but as long as you are safe and cautious with who you meet and moderate social media use, it can benefit you and help you maintain your recovery long-term.
The past two years of this pandemic have brought to light many things you may have taken for granted. One of those things was free in-person communication. Thankfully, social media allows you to not only make connections with people, but also access virtual resources for drug and addiction recovery and maintain contact with peers and professionals in treatment. There are of course circumstances where you need to be cautious. People online are not always truthful about who they are and excessive social media use can sometimes cause other problems. Regardless, isolation is hazardous to addiction recovery. Access to virtual resources and connections is essential to maintain your sobriety. If you are currently in need of a virtual treatment program, call the Lakehouse Recovery Center at (877) 762-3707 immediately. Thanks to virtuality, you do not have to stop your life to save it, and you can start your path to recovery today.