When I first came into the program, I was told by my sponsor and home-group members that I had to change the faces and places. I didn’t understand the phrase so I asked for clarification. They told me I had to find a new group of friends and a new set of hang-outs. For a 15-year-old, this was a monumental task. My peer group was everything to me. But I knew if I was going to stay alive and stay sober, I had to heed their sage advice.
So, I changed the faces and places. I changed my peer group from those who were active in addiction to those who were active in recovery. I stopped going to places where I knew people would be drinking and drugging and I started going to meetings and coffee shops. Eventually, I had a new group of friends and new set of sober hang-outs. A new fellowship had sprung up around me. For me the words on page 17 in the Big Book really had come true, “… there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.”
Recently, I was discussing this phase of recovery with a companion. We talked about the necessity of changing the faces and places. Then my friend brought up a point I had never considered before, “What about social media?” she asked. What about the person who is connected to their using friends through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. What should the person do about those portals to their using life?
It is not my place to tell others how to conduct their sober life. However, accessing forms of social media that are populated with people I used to drink and get high with, for me, would be the equivalent of slamming the door six inches open. I would be sending my old friends and myself a double message. I would be trying to live with a foot in both worlds and I believe I would get split down the middle. If I am following the sage advice of changing the faces and places that would also include social media. I’m not suggesting a complete withdrawal from social media, but I am suggesting that deleting pre-recovery pages and accounts and opening new recovery accounts might be a big step toward changing the faces and places.