Cat Videos, Sugar Shame and Treadmill Trauma

Cat Videos, Sugar Shame and Treadmill Trauma

Over the New Year’s weekend I heard David Brooks, New York Times opinion columnist and author of How to Know a Person, describe social media as performance art. I like that. It is not connection or interaction no matter how many people we can reach, how fast or how far across the globe. Social media is not about growing closer. It is about screaming our opinions into the wind and posting pictures of our best, fake selves.

 

I have never really interacted with social media on a personal level, and we ditched facebook, Instagram and X for promotion of our blog and podcast in mid 2023 as an experiment. Our platforms continued to grow at the same slow and steady pace. No social media had no impact.

 

I do watch Instagram reels in bed most nights looking for funny cat videos to send my wife. It makes her giggle, so in that way, social media does create connection in my life. A wife who giggles because I show interest in her passion is about as good as it gets.

 

This is the time in the annual cycle when we all vow to make profound changes in our lives. You know it is the start of a new year when some of the beer commercials during the football games are replaced with ads for exercise equipment and tax preparation websites. But change doesn’t come from gym memberships and diet plans. Change comes from pain, and a few pounds gained from eggnog and sugar cookies doesn’t hurt enough. That’s why in January, when we realize our winter sweaters are sufficient cover for our holiday indulgences, our resolutions are fleeting little traumas of unwelcomed self-restraint.

 

But what if you are in enough pain?

 

Real pain. Not ten-pounds-of-cheese pain, but if-this-is-my-life-I-don’t-want-to-keep-going pain. What then? Are you going to turn to social media for answers? Do you think change comes from meme’s with captions like, “Hit ‘like’ if you are sober.” I am a long-form writer, so maybe I am biased, but I can’t imagine being inspired to make lasting change by then-and-now pics of someone who has finally gotten their shit together. That’s not a story with which I can resonate. That’s not connection. That’s just bragging. It’s the meme-maker’s quest for external validation. It won’t help you make change.

 

Change is possible only when the pain of the status quo exceeds the pain of the unknown and unwanted. Sobriety doesn’t fix anything. It is merely a prerequisite for years of work ahead. Sobriety is like Biology 101 when you are trying to become a doctor.

 

The growth that follows is painful and arduous, and you feel like you are doing it wrong sometimes. Sometimes recovery feels hopeless. Sometimes detachment feels like self-punishment for having done nothing wrong. Sometimes change feels like a geriatrics residency when you are trying to become a pediatrician. The status quo will always be easier. Change is supposed to be hard. If growing toward the best versions of yourself was easy, everyone would do it. Look around. Think about your interactions with humans in the world. Do you bump into a lot of people who are the best versions of themselves? Change is separating yourself from the disenchanted masses. If you keep going – if you keep asking questions and seeking answers – change offers limitless discoveries.

 

Don’t buy a Nordic Track to collect 2024’s dust. Don’t ask influencers to solve your problems. Roll up your sleeves, and get to work making long-term, lasting change.

 

Resources for Change

 

Belonging is all about being  both the student and the teacher. Belonging doesn’t come from asking someone for help or advice. Belonging comes from shared experiences – from giving as much as you take. Our resources are all about creating a sense of belonging. We ask our listeners to share their experiences in the form of questions we read to our podcast audience. We ask our blog readers to tell their stories in the comments. We depend on our group members to be both problem havers and problem solvers – brainstorming and option narrowing are welcome. We won’t tell you what to do. We create spaces where you can figure that out on your own.

 

If you are ready for change, where do you belong?

 

SHOUT Sobriety

No church basements. No bad coffee, no donuts and no cigarettes. Just smart people lifting up rocks to see what’s under them.

SHOUT Sobriety

 

Echoes of Recovery

This is our group for the loved ones of people who drink problematically. Are you surprised to consider that you need and deserve recovery, too? Surprise. You do.

Echoes of Recovery

 

Marriagevolution

Speaking of surprises, I would love to see the look on your face when you realize sobriety actually makes your relationships worse. If you understand that statement, this is the place for you.

Marriagevolution

 

The Developing Story

Childhood trauma is the cornerstone of any good addiction. If you are a teen or young 20-something who has experience living with alcohol abuse in your home, why not address it now before you repeat the patterns that caused you so much pain?

The Developing Story

 

Sober and Unashamed

You found our blog, which is great. Did you leave a comment? Call me a name. I can take it. At the very least, maybe you should subscribe so you don’t miss any potential sparks for your change.

Sober and Unashamed

 

Untoxicated Podcast

You can’t read while you are driving or working out. Problem solved. Click the link and pop in those earbuds.

Untoxicated Podcast

 

soberevolution: Evolve into Sobriety and Recovery your Alcoholic Marriage

I need a favor. If you read all the way down to here, you must get something from all my bloviating. How about paying it forward. Can you spare a buck? We are trying to pad our stats on our first book released in the summer of 2020 to help us attract a publisher for our second book. The Kindle version is priced at $.99 right now. Will you please help us and buy a copy? You don’t have to read it. You don’t even have to download it. I know you know how to use Amazon. Spend a buck to help a brother out?

$.99 soberevolution

 

Do you know someone who loves cats or little kids who curse or people who thought they were just going to fart (and were ultimately considerably more productive)? If so, social media has some giggles to offer. If you are ready for change, however, the only scrolling you should do is up to the resources in this post. Your tribe has room for you right where you belong.

Midnight, the Stars and You
August 4, 2021
My Responsibility
July 31, 2018
Escape
September 15, 2021
2 Comments
  • Reply
    Gregory Rake
    January 3, 2024 at 1:55 pm

    Great blog Matt!!! Change can be so hard! And I totally agree about social media. It does not create real connections. It can help to keep connected and in touch, but it just isn´t the real deal. As for making changes, it is really hard alone, so finding a partner sometimes helps. I have always enjoyed walking and many years ago, a friend was diagnosed with a heart condition and he didn´t exercise regularly. I said I would be at his house every morning at 6am. For the next three years we walked together alkmost every morning and we had some wonderful converations.

    Recovering from the damage of my disease of alcohol has been so much easier because of SHOUT! Reading the FB posts and your blogs, participating in the weekly meetings and listening to the podcasts have all been a tremendous help. However, after a very difficult year working on the relationship with my wife, I now have the best partner one could ask for and she is always there for me.

    Being the “Lone Ranger” might be okay for some, but for me, I prefer connecting to others in real and meaningful ways to help me change!!!

    • Reply
      Matt Salis
      January 4, 2024 at 7:59 am

      I love how you consistently provide feedback, and how you connect with others in our program, Greg. Thanks for this endorsement!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *