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Why we need to talk about social media addiction and our use of technology

Social Media Addiction and How We Waste Our Lives A Little Each Day

I recently sat down to read a fabulous article in The Atlantic profiling a guy named Tristan Harris who is making it his life’s work to design and encourage other companies to design more ethical software that will help break the increasingly vicious cycle of technology addiction in our lives. The article caught my eye because I’ve been feeling increasingly bothered by the amount of time I spend reaching for my phone, getting lost in the abyss, wasting hours of time perusing through social media, usually mindlessly. I’ve come close to installing phone use apps like BreakFree or Moment to see just how bad I’ve gotten, but I have yet to bring myself to do it because I know it will not be good news and I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to another major life overhaul. That’s ridiculous fear-talk right there, folks.

Can you imagine for a moment? I know I have a problem, that I am on my phone way too much and it eats away at my energy for other, clearly more productive tasks. I catch myself grabbing the phone for no reason other than pure instinct and habit. I’ve read books and articles from very intelligent people waving red flags in my face imploring me to wake up and get a grip on my screen time. It’s become such an epidemic that they are creating apps for our phones now to save us from ourselves (and our phones). Yet, I don’t take that next big step to use an app that will lock my social media apps if I spend too much time on them because I’m not 100% ready to face down this demon. Sound familiar?

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The longterm effects of alcohol on the brain and what you can do to reverse it

How Alcohol Ruins Your Brain (And Why There’s Still Hope)

I’m now reaching the five-month mark in my sobriety (and, EEK, pregnancy) and there is one benefit that I am luxuriating in right now: reclaiming my formerly pickled brain.

Even in the thick of pregnancy brain fog, I still find myself in awe of just how much room there is inside this dome that had been previously clouded by a booze, hangover, anxiety cocktail. Towards the end of my drinking days, I noticed that I had difficulty thinking clearly. I was no longer able to tap into my “zone” and produce interesting content when I sat down to write (which was almost never at that point), nor did I possess any motivation to try. I no longer got lost inside complex thoughts. In fact, I was actually starting to forget things regularly. I would have to write everything down because I was incapable of remembering something in the short term for longer than a few minutes. We often laugh about moments when we walk into a room and have no idea why we came in there, but that was becoming my normal. It didn’t scare me necessarily, at least, not as much as it should have. Instead, it just made me more depressed. Whoever “I” was, whatever construct of self I held previously, was slowly vanishing.

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What it really takes to change

What Most Self-Help Gurus Get Wrong About Big Changes

Change is hard. Like, real earth-moving, deep down in your bones change is hard. That should seem like an obvious statement, but for me, for years, it really wasn’t. I was being flanked on all sides by industry professionals telling me that change was easy. I just had to genuinely want it. If I devoted all my mental energy to wanting this change, the Universe was going to intervene and say, “I got you, girlfriend!” and all was going to be right. If it wasn’t, it was my fault for not wanting it badly enough.

I once read a book where the author told me us that she was battling alcohol and cocaine addiction, a real party chick, and was wrecking her life. Then one fateful day she woke up and heard a voice say, “if you get clean, you’ll have everything you ever dreamed of” and that was it for her. She got clean that very day and everything (seemingly) was sunshine and rainbows from then on (at least on the not using front).

I don’t know about you, but no such voice ever intervened in my life. No magical switch ever flipped in my brain and made all my pain and struggles go away.

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How I handled mental health and sobriety while pregnant

Anxious, Pregnant, Sober, And Ready to Yoga

Having anxiety can feel a little like being trapped inside a very loud high school cafeteria where the chatter ranges from shrill gossip, to bullying, to random diatribes over seemingly useless topics. The noise varies in its harmfulness. There’s a mean girl in there judging everything: your looks, your attire, your personality and life choices. She reminds you of all the dumb shit you did, as any true frenemy would, and leaves you feeling suddenly mortified about a past event you thought you’d locked away forever. The bullies are there interrupting any peace you might have with random insults hurled from every direction. “Stupid bitch!” Whoa, buddy. Where did that come from? What did you do to illicit this? Nothing really. It’s just what bullies do. In the milder moments, you’re swept up in trains of thought that seem interesting and insightful, but ultimately are stealing time away. It’s incredibly exhausting to live inside a space that rarely gets quiet.

So what to do?

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Your memories of alcohol are false and can endanger your sobriety

Why Remembering the Good Times is Bad For Your Sobriety

I’ve been doing a lot of opining recently for the days of yore. You know the kind I’m talking about. The days when you would sit outside at a bar or house party after a long week of work, perfect weather, drinking cheap brews, smoking cigarettes, and talking shit before heading out for some food and more imbibing later in the night. When opining, these nights are always perfect. Nobody got too drunk or made an ass of herself. At worst, somebody got a little too gracious buying rounds, but ce la vie. When the night draws to an end, we take our happily buzzed selves home, crawl into bed, and wake up the next morning fully able to function. Perhaps there’s a slight headache, but nothing a cool glass of water can’t fix.

This memory is mostly false, as is the case with all memories. We pick the pieces that seemed good and fill in the blank spots with the fluffy half-truths necessary for a pretty picture. This unicorn of a night may have existed once, but what’s more likely is that somebody took a stumble, or had to throw up in the bar bathroom before heading back out for round seven. It’s more likely that the food run was some high caloric burrito you had no business eating and probably saw again after lying down and getting hit with a mild case of the spins. It’s more likely that somebody got talkative after a few drinks and said something embarrassing about herself or someone else. It’s more likely that a regrettable text message got sent or a number given out to a total stranger you had no intention of seeing again. Or maybe that stranger came home with you. It’s more likely that the next day didn’t start until after lunch and you couldn’t really get going until it was time to hang out again and you had your “get right” drink.

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tackling tough emotions in sobriety

How To Manage Difficult Emotions In Early Sobriety

There comes a point in sobriety where you have to force yourself to confront difficult emotions without any crutches. These are not easy moments, nor are they completely unfamiliar to you. In fact, these are the same thoughts and memories that would, in another life, drive you to open the bottle and get blasted. But now that you’re sober, there’s a new, naked vulnerability invading your inner world and it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

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