by Kyle Beard on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
The title of this blog has the potential of sparking a variety of emotions in readers: outrage, confusion, interest, hostility, etc. The presidential candidate, Donald Trump, continues to spark a row of controversy in the media from his shifting campaign messages, to his vocal outbursts, to attacks on a plethora of people, and the list continues. However, one truth cannot be ignored regarding his campaign – everyone knows about Donald Trump.
Trump’s campaign has rocked this year’s political season because he is the first candidate to utilize technology and social media to such a high level. The title of this blog indicates there are lessons to be learned from Trump regarding one’s recovery, which may surprise you. Utilizing technology and social media has the potential to revolutionize one’s recovery. Some individuals have sought recovery support via online only to fall into greater heartache, pain, and deeper addiction. It is true that many pitfalls do exist within the internet, but it’s not the internet that harms you – it is within the control of the person using it. There is a saying that has gained recent popularity: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” (This statement is not the message of this blog, therefore please don’t focus on this statement itself, but the greater message its used to point to). This saying can also apply to online: how you choose to use the internet has a great impact on your recovery journey.
Technology played a major part in my addiction, and I have seen many of my clients’ addictions flourish online. Many people often respond by withdrawing completely from technology, fearful that any interaction will draw them back into their addiction. I understand such a harsh reaction to technology after being stuck in addiction for so long. But the internet, social media, and other technology also possess almost endless amounts of resources to aid in one’s recovery. When we can see beyond how we used the internet in our past to stay stuck in addiction, the amount of support, care, and help available online can propel one’s recovery to new heights.
Now that everyone is thinking about the potential positives and negatives of the online world, let’s take a lesson from Trump on how beneficial the internet, social media, and technology can be when used to our advantage:
The Internet – The internet continues to grow at an exponential level, creating more information daily than anyone can ever learn in a lifetime. There are many websites that exist online to help people in their addictions. 12 Step Sites – Whether you are part of AA, NA, CA, SA, SLAA, or another 12 Step Acronym, all of these organizations have an online presence. These sites provide lists of meetings available in your area, information about the programs, personal stories of people working the steps, and many other resources. YourBrainOnPorn.com continues to be a powerful resource for individuals struggling with pornography. The site provides videos explaining the impact of porn on one’s brain, online message boards to ask questions and receive support, and mountains of research studies on the effects of pornography.
Social Media – One of the greatest resources I’ve found as a therapist is a group on Facebook of local therapists in my city helping each other. Hundreds of social media groups exist to provide support to other individuals in recovery from addiction. Sadly, if you type in Sexaholics Anonymous in the Facebook search bar, there will be some results that are the opposite of what I’m talking about. Please don’t let a few bad apples ruin the potential for support and aid. The hardest part of this process is finding a healthy place to find support. Most often having a friend you met in a 12 Step or psychotherapy group invite you to an online community is the best avenue to find these online resources. Don’t become discouraged by those using social media and the internet to harm others because there are even more who are genuinely trying to provide a safe place of support for those struggling.
Mobile Technology – Technology continues to grow at a pace I struggle to keep up with as a sex addiction therapist. New apps, phones, and operating systems are released with new loopholes that my associates and I are diligently working to combat to better help our clients. Just like the internet and social media, a wide range of tech exists to help someone in recovery. Nomo is a great sobriety app, keeping track of one’s sobriety date and contacting accountability partners when the date is reset. MobiCIP and K9 are two phone apps that provide filtered internet for individuals recovering from sexual addiction. After turning off other browsers and the ability to download certain types of apps, individuals can have filtered internet access on their phone.
The information provided is a simple list of potential resources available to those in recovery from sexual addiction and other addictions. More websites, groups, and technological advances are being developed daily to help us stay sober. Even this morning, a colleague reached out to me to test her new recovery app. Though many try to bring us back to our addictions, others are fighting diligently to provide aid in our journey of recovery. Technology may have prolonged our addiction in the past, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help us in our new sobriety journey. Let’s take advantage of the resources available to create a lifestyle of recovery with happiness and hope to lead us into a better tomorrow.