How to Ignore Your Newsfeed When It Shows Substance Abuse

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

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Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Almost every day, it seems like another celebrity substance abuse issue shows up in the news. If you’re a person going through recovery, seeing this can trigger a lot of emotions – and even a bit of temptation. Celebrity substance abuse stories, while sad, prove that we are all human and that addiction is a disease that knows no boundaries with respect to gender, race, or socioeconomic status. But if this triggers addiction, learn how to ignore your newsfeed when it shows substance abuse.

If you’re on the verge or have relapsed, please reach out to the substance abuse treatment center. You don’t have to start over again.

Celebrities and Substance Abuse in Your Newsfeed

Here’s a news flash: what you see on TV and in movies isn’t real. What you see from the media insofar as how they portray celebrities is also not real. News outlets are notorious for painting a glamorous picture of celebrities because it attracts audiences to their TV show and advertising revenue. From the outside looking in, celebrities or even fake celebrities (like Instagram “models”) seem to have achieved success. They have a big house, fancy cars, expensive clothes and a small posse of groupies that accompany them wherever they go.

This all looks great until you learn that on some days, the celebrity is curled up on the bathroom floor, retching over the toilet after a bad reaction to a substance. The reality of celebrity substance abuse takes a terrible toll on the celebrity just like it does for anyone else. They endure the same consequences – lost jobs, failed relationships, and legal complications. You just don’t see it until it all unravels. To the average person, their newsfeed might paint a very different picture of what might be going on behind the scenes.

In fact, there’s a great book called “The Harder They Fall.”  In it, many celebrities tell their shocking, devastating stories of addiction and the consequences in shocking detail. Rest assured that there’s nothing glamorous about celebrity substance abuse.

You may begin to realize that the celebrity was hiding their addiction. They continued to post fluffy social media stories showing how glamorous their life is. Such actions are classic cases of denial in a futile attempt to gain a sense of balance.

How to Ignore Your Newsfeed When It Shows Substance Abuse

In today’s social media world, our newsfeeds are full of stories about people attending parties, raves, concerts, festivals, or any number of activities in which substance abuse is prevalent. For a person going through recovery, this can be distracting. It becomes crucial to learn how to ignore your newsfeed when it shows substance abuse.

Any story on your social newsfeeds that shows people having a good time inherently stirs memories or desires within a person to want to partake in such activities because of some good memories they might have. So how do you ignore these stories in your newsfeed? The easy answer is part of the 12-step philosophy of “people, places, and things.”

1. Unfollow and Unsubscribe

Start by unfollowing or unfriending any people in your newsfeed that still live that lifestyle. They simply must be gone from your newsfeed, period. Second, check which groups you’ve subscribed to into social media platforms. Then unsubscribe if those groups aren’t conducive to your new lifestyle.

2. Follow Specific News Outlets

Change your source for online news. Consider AP News, Reuters, or even Google News as a news aggregator. Avoid the tabloids at all costs because they thrive on celebrity gossip.

If triggering newsfeeds continue to pop up, see if there is an option in settings. Outlets like Google often have preference settings or suggestions that you can update.

3. Reassuring Yourself

Understanding that what you see on social media is just a portrayal that a person wants you to see and is not the whole picture is important. No one wants you to see them at their worst, so you’re only getting a glimpse of a highlight or a snippet of a tiny moment in their day. It’s not real, it’s not the whole story and it doesn’t create a realistic expectation of life.

Young people struggle with this, especially those who are quick to judge without seeing the whole picture. For celebrities, social media is important to how many of them earn an income, so it makes sense that they make their lives seem glamorous. Some celebrities are making millions of dollars promoting products on their Instagram. It only makes sense for them to paint a rosy picture of their life. It makes even more sense when they’re getting paid to endorse a weight loss product when they’re actually spending the money on a cocaine habit.

What you see online is very rarely an accurate portrayal of someone’s life. When the life of a celebrity unravels, that’s when we get the real story. Several celebrities have been quite forthcoming about their struggles with substance abuse and mental health disorder like Demi Lovato.

4. Follow Motivational Feeds

Follow the newsfeeds that deserve your attention and support sobriety. Many addiction treatment centers use social media to reach out to those struggling with addiction past or present. There are a lot of specific motivational feeds to follow that range from well-known fitness to addiction recovery. Find one that speaks to you. Let these motivational newsfeeds outweigh those negative that pop up.

Understanding the Whole Picture

The press may not necessarily report when someone famous makes a public appearance under the influence of drugs or alcohol unless they are stopped by police or involved in an accident or some type of altercation. However, the media does report when someone checks into a treatment facility. When a fan reads about their favorite celebrity being admitted to an inpatient treatment facility to get help for drug or alcohol addiction, there is a danger when the media reports seem to gloss over the seriousness of the situation. A young person who dreams of time in the spotlight and the glamour of a celebrity lifestyle may not get the message about the potential harm that substance abuse can cause unless the celebrity in question specifically decides to become a sober role model.

There Are Important Details Missing from Celebrity Stories

What you don’t know is the terrible consequences and the daily disasters a celebrity has gone through before their addiction problem has become public. Once it has, it typically includes a story about how the celebrity has checked into some super lavish cliff-side rehab facility in Malibu. Another news flash – $30,000 a week rehab facilities have a success rate that is no better than regular rehab facilities.

Another piece of reality is that the celebrity doesn’t have to wait for approval from an insurance provider or struggle to find a treatment center that offers financial assistance. In the typical rehab story, a celebrity disappears from view for a time and then reappears, looking healthier and well-rested. He has a new lease on life after getting help but is unlikely to talk about how difficult it was to get to the root of the addiction or how staying sober is now going to be a lifelong journey taken one day at a time.

Celebrity rehab stories definitely don’t talk about continuing care and needing continuing support after finishing a residential treatment program. They often gloss over how their family was involved in their treatment plan. It’s like celebrities are somehow different from the rest of us, and nothing really bad ever touches them. Of course, anyone going through recovery knows that this is not the case.

Final Thoughts on How to Ignore Your Newsfeed When It Shows Substance Abuse

There is nothing glamorous about someone having a substance abuse problem. It’s a medical condition that has the potential to be fatal. Early intervention with professional treatment is the best approach to help those affected to become sober, whether they are a celebrity or not.

Consider the following programs to strengthen your recovery:

Contact Renaissance Recovery if you need help during recovery. Call [Direct] to speak with caring experts about how to deal with substance abuse triggers.866.330.9449

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Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country