If you spend any time on social media, you know that influencers play a significant role in how we look at ourselves and the world around us. Rightly or wrongly, they’re making an impact and leaving their mark.

From #VanLife to #BossBabe, there are influencers for just about everything. Sports. Comedy. Dance. Health. Travel. But we’re also seeing rising stars aligning themselves with something rather unexpected: addiction recovery.

While the whole idea that recovery is creating online celebrities might seem bizarre, it’s something we see trending.

So, we had to ask ourselves, is the idea of recovery as something fashionable helping or hurting the cause?

Fads and Trends Tend to Be Short-Lived

Well, for starters, we’ve always challenged social norms that encourage us to put a drink in someone’s hand at every possible gathering. So, we’re all for trends that encourage people to explore a week, a month, or more without relying on alcohol or other substances. A little time and reflection are never a bad thing.

That being said, we do worry about how this affects people facing life or death addiction situations.

So, what happens when someone in recovery sees their peers bounce back to old habits after their week or month of sobriety is up? It sets the wrong example and can almost paint relapse as something to be expected.

Influencers Are Not Necessarily Experts

What causes the most concern is that being a popular influencer on a topic does not necessarily make you an expert.

Influencers can have a tremendous impact simply by sharing their stories. Not only can that sharing help reduce the stigma that prevents some people from getting the support they need, but it also helps foster a sense of community where followers can share their stories with one another.

Where things get a little murky, however, is when influencers start to veer into the lane of topical expert. Just because someone has been alcohol-free for a month and knows how to look great on camera, doesn’t mean they’re an authority on sobriety.

When it comes to coaching or medical advice, that’s best left to trained and certified professionals who understand the complex layers playing into both addiction and recovery.

Increasing Awareness is a Great Thing

While we applaud more people driving awareness, the fact is, addiction is serious. It’s scary. It kills. And it has the potential to make life a long and painful journey.

Presenting a shiny, happy package without proper focus on the struggle and mess behind each recovery can be dangerous. Recovery should never look like an easy process of self-improvement.

Because it’s anything but.

Influencers can play an important role in building awareness and reducing stigma.

Just remember that a collection of clever or inspiring Instagram posts are no replacement for professional expertise.

We Can Help You

Ledgehill’s two facilities in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, provide gender-specific treatment for men and women who need to heal in a peaceful, supportive environment free from fear or distraction. If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by Ledgehill, enrol yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at 866-459-0548.