I apparently just celebrated 10 years of being on Facebook. For six of those years, I was an active alcoholic. And it showed. That’s the thing about social media and addiction: you can try to manicure your life and make it pretty-perfect, but the more you try to make it look good, all you do is draw attention to your issues. I wrote countless paragraphs on friends’ walls. I crafted non-sensical messages to people I hadn’t seen since middle school. I shared random music videos for no reason and fired off movie quotes out into the ether, tagging anyone and everyone in the process. I was sending pings into the universe, hoping for a response. Despite all the noise of social media, there was a sad silence to everything.
I’m in my early forties. My social media skills are limited at best. Uploading cat photos on Instagram? Got it. Connecting with professional strangers on LinkedIn? Sure, why not? Getting overwhelmed by my Twitter feed? Every single day. But back in early recovery, I found myself gravitating toward one thing: the hashtag. Yep. The simple, stupid, silly pound sign—and all the letters after it. (If you want to go Full Nerd, here’s a ridiculously comprehensive oral history of it.) Being online when you’re newly sober—at least for me—was a lot like being shell-shocked from war. At first, I couldn’t stomach Facebook on my MacBook but I could, however, deal with hashtags on my iPhone. Hashtags became as important to me as, back when I was drunk, getting three Likes on a 3 a.m. post about Toad the Wet Sprocket. In fact, they’re still important to me. (Hashtags. Not posts about Toad.)
By searching for recovery-based hashtags, I very quickly discovered that I wasn’t alone. I had zero idea just how vast and interconnected the online recovery community is. I’ve since used hashtags to find podcasts, books, websites, off-the-books AA meetings, wisdom and everything in between—not to mention building true bonds with other sober people thousands of miles away from where I live in Central Ohio. A hashtag can orient me when I’m lost in all the same ways it can reduce something down to nothing. Whether you’re facing your first few days of sobriety or staring down several decades of living clean, a hashtag can be shockingly powerful.
Here’s a list of 25 recovery hashtags (in no particular order) that you can use wherever you’re at in your journey. You might be surprised by where they take you.