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1 Month (Social Media) Sober

I’ve been social media sober for almost a month, and for the last few weeks I feel more joyful, peaceful, and present than I have in quite some time. During the end of 2020, I found myself drawn to my phone like a moth to a flame. I’d go from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter and back around again. I’d notice myself reaching for my phone or wanting to reach for my phone even while in conversations with my wife, kids, or a friend. I had a problem. Furthermore, my scrolling rarely left me more joyful, peaceful, or refreshed when I finished than when I started.
So, during the first week of January, I decided to take a month off of social media. I could tell I was struggling with using social media in moderation, so I thought a month-long detox would be healthy. I made a post on each account letting people know how to contact me and that I’d be off until February. My first day away was January 5, which just so happened to be the day before the riots and storming of the capitol. Let’s just say I chose a good time to step away!!!

How is social media impacting you? Is it having a negative impact on your thoughts, emotions, habits, marriage, or other important relationships? Is it consuming time that could be spent in healthier or more productive ways? Is it leading you more towards anxiety, anger, and rage than peace, joy, and love?

Perhaps a month away from social media could do you some good as well. If you decide to do it, it may be helpful to…
  • Be aware of the temptation to replace social media with other addictive media. For the first few days I craved the dopamine hit I was used to getting from social media. 
  • Make a list of some things you hope to enjoy with the extra time and energy you will have. I have enjoyed listening to the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, spending time making mediocre-looking furniture as a novice woodworker, and working on some house projects I’ve been wanting to do.  
  • Delete the social media apps from your phone. Just do it. The constant urge to check your social media, make a post, or share a picture is real. Delete the apps to help you resist the urge. 
  • Expect that you will feel emotions and think about things you haven't felt in a while. Whether we realize it or not, we often use social media to escape from emotions and thoughts. It has been helpful for me to journal almost daily during during this social media break.

I don’t know when I will be back on social media. I doubt it will be February 1. I am enjoying the extra energy, time, and feeling of joy too much. My brain has gotten used to life without social media, and I believe I am healthier for it. However, I doubt I will stay off forever for several reasons. So, I have come up with a plan for how I will re-enter when I do. Ironically, I believe I read this plan from someone on Twitter.

When I get back on, I plan to take...
  • one month off per year
  • one week off per month
  • one day off per week

For me, this will likely be January off each year, the first week off each month, and Monday (my sabbath / day off) each week. I hope this helps me to enjoy social media in moderation and fight the addictive nature of it. By the way, I did not take this break due to watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I took it because I could tell obsessive social media use was messing with my joy. However, I did watch The Social Dilemma for the first time this week, and it became obvious to me why I feel so much better after almost a month away. I recommend you give it a watch if you haven’t.
A few sections of the Bible that have been impactful for me to meditate on concerning this time away from social media are from 1 Corinthians 6 and Philippians 4.
1 Corinthians 6:12 - 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Social media was dominating me. It was not helping me achieve my main roles in life, which are to love my Lord, love my wife, love my kids, love my church, love my family and friends, etc.

Philippians 4:5-8 - The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In the context of talking about anxiety and peace, Paul instructs the church to focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent. I don’t know about your feeds, but mine are not always filled with what is true. (Enter rant about conspiracy theories.) They aren't always filled with what is honorable, excellent, and lovely. Is it possible that one reason there is so much anxiety in our world today is that there is so much time spent on social media? It’s not the only reason, but I am convinced it is a main reason.

Whether you are compelled to take a break or not, I hope reading this has encouraged or challenged you in a meaningful way. Thanks for reading! Love to you all.

Jason B.


Debbie Brown - January 28th, 2021 at 3:35pm

Good blog article. I agree for the most part. I definitely spend too much time on social media too. Even though I mainly get on to connect with my daughter and see pictures of my granddaughter and then share them with my family and friends - - like the Bible says just because it is lawful for me to do something doesn't mean it is helpful. I need to cut my time down so that I can be more productive in other areas - especially Bible study time. Thanks for sharing!

Leya - January 28th, 2021 at 8:09pm

Good read!! I gave up all social media sometime toward the end of last year for very similar reasons. I haven’t been back on since, and I don’t plan on being back on ever again. I feel very similarly. I feel like a chain tugging on me or trying to tie me to some heavy object has been removed. It’s freeing. Also, I want the precious time the Lord has gifted me with to be used wisely, and for me, that’s not on my phone on social media. Thank you for sharing Pastor!