Ever wonder what you’re missing out on now that you’re sober? If this “wondering” escalates to fear or obsession, FOMO may have you under its thumb.
What is FOMO, you ask? Fear Of Missing Out: “A form of social anxiety, whereby one is compulsively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.”
If you’ve chosen recovery over relapse, sober over stoned, and a new life over your old one, FOMO might creep up on you. You’ve had to make changes to your lifestyle, find new hang-outs and learn new ways to use your time. You say “no” to things you used to embrace. You may have moments when you wonder – am I missing out on too much? But dwelling on this notion that you’re missing out on “fun” things can be dangerous to sobriety.
A Brave, New World
Keep in mind, these healthy changes you’ve made do cause you miss out on things. But what you’re missing out on are the things you no longer want – addiction, enslavement, broken relationships, regrets, hangovers, overdose, death.
To stay on the right path, use the following tactics to kick FOMO to the curb.
- Challenge your thoughts: If your brain tries to take you on the FOMO train, find another track. Ask yourself: “What’s really the worst that could happen if I ‘miss out’ on ___?” Simple acceptance that it’s okay to say no to things can go a long way to victory over FOMO. Remind yourself that your sobriety and overall health are way more important.
- Know exactly what you’re missing: As I mentioned, the “fun” you are “missing” isn’t really enjoyable at all. Hangovers. Potential accidents. Regrets from embarrassing things you say or do that you can’t take back. Health issues. When it comes to drug and alcohol use, the acronym should really be GFMO – grateful for missing out.
- Look away from the screen: Social media has its perks. It also has its downside. If you’re constantly reading about what others are doing, you’re more likely to experience FOMO. Try cutting back (or even cutting out) your social media time. It will be easier to focus on your own life and what’s best for you, rather than what others are up to.
- Set goals: When you’re working toward personal goals, you’re less concerned with how others are spending their time. If you start to wonder what you might be missing out on, you can remind yourself that those activities don’t align with your goals. Stay focused on the milestones ahead and continue working toward them.
- Make your own FOMO fun: Who decides what activities are worth doing? You! Why worry about what others are doing to have fun? Create your own good times – healthy, sober memories. Let others fear missing out on your stuff!
- Replace old activities: As you make your own FOMO fun, it can help to replace old activities with new ones that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Maybe you go for a daily bike ride during happy hour. Maybe you go to a movie on Saturday night instead of a drunk-fest. As you find new things to occupy your time, you discover life can be fun without substance abuse.
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