Instagram is a social networking tool where you can post pictures and videos of yourself and your friends as well as including filters to them to give them a sense of style. Instagram can also be a good way to document a person’s journey such as trying to lose weight or even trying to recover from addiction. A woman from Nottingham decided to use Instagram as a tool to document her boyfriend’s heroin addiction to teach followers how bad it can get and to encourage others to go into treatment.
Recovery.org did a study to show how Instagram can help those struggling with addiction to help recover. Hashtags like #sober, #soberlife, and #12steps have been used in over 79,000 posts. #Soberlife was the most common addiction recovery hashtag with 32,707 mentions followed by #sobriety which has 19,033 mentions. Recovery programs like #narcoticsanonymous had 1,638 mentions and #alcoholicsanonymous had 1,272 mentions. The study also showed that Utah had the most addiction recovery posts 144.4 posts per capita and California had 70.8. Ironically, Utah has one of the lowest national rates of illicit substance abuse with California having high levels. This shows that substance abuse must be fairly new in Utah and more people are interested in learning about it.
Instagram has the power to let users stay anonymous compared to Facebook where you are told to put in your personal information in your profile. Instagram helps give people space where they can share their experiences of addiction without having to worry about coworkers or family members knowing about it. While unfortunately there are websites that can trigger a person’s addiction, there are also others that encourage others to seek treatment.
One Instagram account is called “Sober Quotes” that posts life lessons and motivational advice to get through the hard days of keeping sober. “Let’s Help Broken Ones” focuses on promoting self-love and passing it on to others. Users can also ask questions or messages in 300 characters for account creators to answer. “12 Steps to Recovery” provides messages of hope and messages of healing through the 12 steps. “Recovery Daily” provides encouragement through faith in a Higher Power. This is good for those who incorporate their religious beliefs into their recovery.
Lisa Selby met her boyfriend, Elliot Murawski, in 2015 at Alcoholics Anonymous. While they quickly fell in love with each other, Murawski relapsed and was sent to jail for two years and eight months after he was caught drug dealing to support his habit. Elliot first tried drugs when he was 12 and moved onto illegal substances when he was 15. After keeping his relapse a secret from Selby for three months, he finally confessed to her about it. This inspired Selby to create the Instagram account, @bluebaglife, to better understand her boyfriend’s addiction. The account was named after the little blue bag that Murawski would keep his drugs in. This account now has 11.5 thousand followers.
Selby started to take photos and videos of Murawski to better understand her boyfriend’s addiction in the hope it would help him detox. She would also show Murawski the pictures that she took of him when he was high to help each other understand what it was doing to both of them. She would take pictures of him looking high, pictures of the needles and other supplies used for drug supply, and even a picture of himself staring at a needle filled with heroin. Murawski would help Selby out with her Instagram account by sending letters and captions for her to use despite having no access to social media.
There would be honest posts of Murawski suggesting to Selby that they should do drugs together and her refusing. She also posted a caption where she explains how she would see syringe packets surrounding her as she ate breakfast. He would hide his drug habits in his car and then in the bathroom. He then began using drugs in front of her. Selby was then able to learn from him where he acquired drugs and how it was done. Because she lost her mother to heroin use, Selby wanted to learn through her boyfriend about what made her lose her mom.
This couple was amazed to see how many followers they were getting and how much they were supporting Murawski to overcome his drug use. In order to prevent people from being triggered by the photos and videos that were posted, the account was created as private. Selby said that she is proud of the network that she created through this account and hopes to help others suffering from addiction. Making accounts like these will encourage others to be honest about their addiction. By seeing the worst of drug addiction through these photos and videos, this will make others feel incredible joy when that person reaches recovery.
Murawski has been clean for two years and believes that Instagram is the reason why he reached recovery. Now, Selby is using Instagram to help others tell their stories of addiction. Breaking the stigma on popular social media platforms can make a difference. These Instagram accounts will show the honest brutality that addiction can inflict on someone and can encourage others that there is always time to better your life.
Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center using evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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