When I entered into recovery for my eating disorder right around the turn of the millennium, my phone was one of my greatest assets. If I got the urge to binge, I called a friend. If I struggled with eating a meal, I called a friend. If I felt scared and lonely, you guessed it: I called a friend. But, these days, many of us rarely use our phones to actually make calls. Picking up the phone means so much more. And, of course, that brings with it both positive things as well as #dotcomplication.
Today’s technology essentially puts recovery in the pockets of those healing from eating disorders, addictions, and trauma. Mobile apps abound, including Recovery Record for eating disorders, PTSD Coach addressing trauma, and Hazelden’s award- winning Mobile MORE Field Guide to Life focusing on addiction. And, unlike years ago, individuals who struggle in remote geographical areas can now access expert care, thanks to the growing number of clinicians who use Skype and video calling.
Online forums as well as tools like GoToMeeting have enabled people from all over the world to join together in support and therapy groups. Technology obviously doesn’t just help those who struggle with addictive behaviors and trauma. We are all essentially “in recovery” from life. I personally find it beneficial to receive inspirational quotes and images in my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I have also used timers and reminders on my phone to prompt me to “Breathe,” and “Be grateful.” If you desire greater self-compassion, here’s a unique tool that has worked for some: set the background image on your smartphone as a photo of yourself from when you were a small child. This picture can remind you to be a bit gentler and kinder when that self-critical voice starts chiming in. (Many won’t easily berate an adorable child smiling back at them.) If this idea proves helpful, take it a step further by setting that same childhood image as the actual photo of the people who call you the most. When mom calls, you will be forced to see that picture of you at age two, and again, maybe even just for a moment, you will practice greater compassion toward yourself.