Today my therapist challenged me with the unthinkable: stay off of Facebook for five days. Five whole days – Wednesday through Sunday – without my most-used social media outlet. Five days without stalking a classmate’s brother’s girlfriend or reading anecdotes about people’s Mondays, five days without clicking through pictures of parties I missed or festivals I didn’t go to. Five days without comparing myself to other people and their lives, of making myself feel like a failure for having left college and moved back to my hometown while they’re still in school and enjoying active social lives.
“You use Facebook as a voyeur,” my therapist had observed. “You watch everyone else’s lives go by instead of living out your own.”
She’s right, obviously. A glutton for punishment, I’d much rather ignore what’s good and focus on what other people are doing: yeah, I’m in recovery, but why’s that matter when I’m not as thin as she is? Yes, I’ve been sober almost ten months now, but what’s the point when I could be out getting wasted at the bars? What’s the fun of being twenty-one if I’m not partying and being reckless? Except that I did all that – the sex, drugs, and booze, the starving and purging – and look where that got me: pulled out of school more than once, in treatment more than once, left to feel like I’m excluded from some Great Life Experience of What It Means to be in Your Twenties. I get so caught up in being disappointed in myself that I forget that I actually have a lot of great things going on – like my sobriety and my recovery, my blogs, and my job. I’ve got family and friends supporting me and loving me, who I love back deeply; it’s as much a disservice to them as it is to me to neglect my life in this way.
But oh, boy. It’s only been a few hours and I’m already itching to get back on. My fingers keep opening a new tab in my browser out of reflex, typing in the web address from muscle memory, and I have to actively stop myself. I’ve taken some extra precautions: my sister changed my password to something I don’t know, and I deleted the app from my phone. I’m trying – real hard – to go through with this. Trying to take these seemingly silly little steps to start living my life instead of passively coping with it.
So – Day One. Let’s go.