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Put Your Phone Away in May

Now that the weather is improving, it’s a good time to do a little experiment: ditch your phone for a while. Smartphones are amazing, and sometimes they have helpful tools, but the way most people use their phones is unhealthy. If you are in recovery, there are plenty of good reasons to take a break from your phone.

First, your phone is probably loaded up with apps that are all competing for your attention. You probably have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and who knows what else. Those all run on advertising and selling your data, which means they earn more when you spend more time scrolling.

That’s not bad in itself, but what do you get in return? Basically, you get entertained for a fraction of a second at a time. Think about long you spend looking at the average photo on Instagram; it’s probably half a second, if that. If you see something really good, you might look at it for two or three seconds. So you scroll through a feed for minutes at a time to find a really great pic that you look at for a few seconds before scrolling on. It’s not a terribly satisfying use of your time.

So why do you do it? The designers of those apps make them as addictive as possible. They show you stuff you don’t care about so you’ll get excited when they finally show you something good. They let you like, upvote, and heart so you play a part in your own training. If you’re in recovery, especially earl on, you are especially vulnerable to transfer addictions because because you miss that dopamine hit. Granted, it’s better to be addicted to your phone than to alcohol, but there are certainly better ways to spend your time.

When the weather is nice, you can go outside and do stuff. You’re not snowed in any more, trying to stave off cabin fever. You can take a walk, or a hike, or go for a bike ride. No one even cares what you do outside in May because everyone is just so glad to finally be thawed out. It’s a great time to connect with others. When you’re on your phone, you’re not connecting. You’re ignoring the people you’re physically with and having fake, mediated communications with people somewhere else, who are ignoring the people they are physically with. Social connection is such a huge asset for everyone, and especially people in recovery. Spending all your time glued to your phone forfeits that connection and replaces it with “content.”

Perhaps even worse, it erodes your attention. You can almost observe in real time how looking at stuff on your phone narrows your attention span. When you finally do put your phone away, and listen to what your friend is saying, you forget the beginning of his sentence before he reaches the end. It’s not a great way to start getting your life back.

Smartphones are great servants and terrible masters. Try putting your phone away or deleting some of the more addictive apps for a month and see how you feel.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.