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Even after you have successfully undergone addiction rehab and are in recovery, changing your social identity from that of being a substance user to that of being someone who is in recovery can be difficult.1

Breaking the stigma of addiction through social media is one way of changing your social identity as you help others who might be going through a similar situation, which can frustrate a full reconnection to a sober life. A number of studies have shown that the disease of addiction is more widely stigmatized than other types of health disorders.2 The social stereotypes of people who have suffered from addiction tend to be negative, making it difficult for those in recovery to rebuild their social acceptance.

Social Media Can Be a Powerful Tool

Connecting with others on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and Instagram, is a creative way to communicate with strangers and people you already know. You can converse with others and even help initiate change in how they view people in recovery. You may also have an opportunity to help change another person’s life.

Numerous online recovery communities exist that offer support for those suffering from addiction, in addition to people who have come through recovery and have a positive desire to remain sober. There are apps you can use on your smartphone to connect with others in recovery to create on online fellowship right at your fingertips. These ways of breaking the stigma of addiction through social media, however, should not become a replacement for in-person 12-step meetings or for face-to-face conversations with role models in recovery whose stories reflect your own.

Breaking the Stigma of Addiction Through Social Media

Through the use of certain Internet platforms and apps, you can help with the job of breaking the stigma of addiction through social media by putting a face and identity on addiction that speaks loudly of pride and persistence in overcoming substance abuse and relapse.

You can take action toward breaking the stigma of addiction through social media by using Twitter hashtags in your daily postings to advocate for the recognition of addiction recovery as a positive thing, rather than it being viewed negatively.

Take Action to Advocate for Recovery

Consider sharing your photo on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, accompanied by hashtags such as #ThisIsWhatRecoveryLooksLike or #recoveryworks. These photos work to not only let those in treatment see what lies ahead in recovery, but also show the world that there is a very positive element attached to recovery and it should be celebrated by all.

You can share your images of recovery on sites like Tumblr, where others can ask you questions directly about being in recovery and what that is like. By peppering your images with hashtags that you develop, you are working to spread the word that you, or anyone else suffering from addiction, should be looked at through a normal lens, rather than being stigmatized.


  1. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01795/full
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272222/
Breaking the Stigma of Addiction Through Social Media
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