Be careful of social media in Recovery

Be careful of social media in Recovery

I saw a post ironically on Facebook from the St Judes people and followed the link which made interesting reading http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/17548227/Prep-Your-Social-Media-Profile(s)-for-the-Job-Hunt

I have had a few bad experiences with people being rather inconsiderate with my privacy in recovery and it has caused me trouble. I was outed at work by an evangelical 12 stepper as a member of AA which caused me some problems with the human resource dept and have had people taking an interest in me online. I have very few people who are in recovery on my Facebook page which is in my real name although I do tend not to hang out with that many people in recovery on a day-to-day basis. Those that are on there tend to be very discreet. I may change this in the future when I am closer to giving up work all together but I am not quite there yet, and am aware that my reputation could be damaged or my employment prospects lowered if certain things from my past were public. In the article I have linked to, this type of thing is mentioned about two-thirds of the way down and the article is aimed at people in recovery , but more general readers. I have seen people in a media company look up potential employees on Facebook, and some profiles can be rather revealing. My Facebook wall has a lot about running and me going to a football club’s gym so it actually creates a good impression in my case. Also the fact that I was not a drinker when I started on Facebook also helps! It would probably raise a few eyebrows if I was connected to recovery groups.

facebook

I use a different Facebook account for recovery based stuff as do many others. The same goes for google plus and twitter. There is still a huge stigma about addiction and in today’s economic climate, where people are obsessed with statistics and box ticking, we have to be careful if we want to take part in normal society. There is a tend tendency for many in AA to be rather open about their membership, but this can affect them later on. I think that online groups can be really helpful, and a certainly safe way to interact with others in recovery, but the downside is that you are broadcasting some aspects of your private life onto a searchable database and even privacy settings can often be bypassed by people who really want to. I just searched Lovinglife52 on google and was quite amused by all the stuff that comes up. Some relate to me, but there are lots that don’t, such as the swinger from USA or any of the photographs! I dread to think what an employer would think of it all.

I think it is a good idea to be cautious about broadcasting that you are in recovery on social media or anywhere else as there is still a huge stigma. People are influenced by B list celebrities who get a bit of attention after saying they are in recovery. What helps in Hollywood may not help much in the real world. Also while the idea of being in recovery is important at first, for me it is not that important any more after a period of stability. It is certainly not how I define myself now and I am glad I did not broadcast it everywhere.

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  1. Border Collie Mix June 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm · · Reply

    I agree! I do not put anything related on my FB profile. I have hidden all my ‘likes” and have particular groups I can discuss different things with. Still not much about recovery. I had one woman almost out me as being in treatment with her years ago, when responding to a completely unrelated post. She later messaged me to apologize. There are some people so open that I wonder if even my having them as a friend outs me. I never respond to their recovery posts, one in particular shares an unrelated activity with me, have to be careful.

    I have never been one to want to air my dirty laundry in public. I make sure to have very benign public posts every once in a while, while hiding anything else from the public and many of my “friends”. I am hoping that the public posts keep people from digging deeper. I don’t even list my workplace, I wouldn’t want someone to try to out me there.

    • I think it is important when we have put all that effort in to building a new life to keep it safe. So many people are using online solutions such as blogging to aid their recovery but have to realise that their life can end up in the public domain.

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