How to Avoid FOMO in Society

Megan Deshaj on March 17, 2023 at 11:19 AM

FOMO is the modern world's most cherished obsession; the fear of missing out. And so it

happens; it interlocks with another popular acronym - YOLO, or - you only live once. If we put

two and two together - you only live once + the fear of missing out, we end up with an insatiable

urge to indulge and welcome various forms of self-destructive behavior. The subliminal pressure

of today's society is ruthless, and the message reads: "WHY AREN'T YOU HAPPY?" For the

ones in recovery, FOMO can represent an insurmountable obstacle, especially for younger

people. How do you fight the urge? How do you have fun sober if it's all you've ever known?

Challenging as it may seem, having fun and simultaneously enjoying our unsullied senses is

more than plausible. Should we let an acronym beat us at our own game? - Let's not let it win.

This is how to avoid FOMO in sobriety.

Your idea of fun

"But I'm deprived of my true personality when I'm sober. I used to be fun." - But is it really the

case? The path to sobriety is often riddled with self-doubt and identity annihilation. The good

part? It's all pseudo. And that's our starting point. The I'll drink you under the table" distastefully

humorous and daring us is but a mere projection; it's not who and what we are in reality. The

fear of losing a fundamental (and possibly the worthiest) part of ourselves is nothing more but

an illusion fueled by our distorted perception, all thanks to substances. In reality, the world of

addiction (no matter how enriching the perception) comes down to reliving the same

disappointment and cascades of extreme self-disgust, come the weekend, come - any day.

Nothing but a cognitive blur and an inexorable undertone of utter defeat. On repeat.

For the ones leaving their recovery homes, re-entering the societal matrix is anything but easy.

False beliefs:

● Substances help me deal with my anxiety and depression

● I am more fun and relaxed when under the influence

● People like me more when I'm not sober

● I am more confident, spontaneous, and able

Reality check:

● You're not portraying the real you, no matter how good it feels

● Being aggressive, defensive, and hurtful toward others is not anybody's idea of fun

● You will spend more time feeling ashamed and guilty than actually feeling good about


● Experiencing blackouts and having no grip on reality is far from entertaining

● Feeling physically sick is an unavoidable consequence of chronic substance abuse

Gain; not a loss

There's a new acronym in town; JOMO - the joy of missing out. And, no, it's not an oxymoron.

It's the end goal for the ones treading the sobriety path. Suppose we put our newly acquired,

sober focus on everything we are potentially missing by keeping the enemy at arm's length. In

that case, we're 100% in for a majestic episode of the one and only - notorious downward spiral.

A misery smorgasbord. "so unfair." The notion of transience sets in, and we picture

ourselves completely isolated, cut off from our past loves, substances, society, and the joy of

living. It's all barbarism and sage man chaos from now on. - Let's stop here. The feeling of

deprivation is a self-imposed curse. If we want to avoid FOMO in sobriety and be successful at

it, we must enforce a positive narrative; and it's easier than we might think.

How to:

The mere joy of living our lives fog-free and enjoying creativity, productivity, self-confidence,

good mental and physical health, healthy interpersonal relationships, and most importantly - a

good night's sleep. When we consciously make these our focal points, our mindset organically

shifts from "I can't drink": to "I don't want to.” Why? Because we now have a tangible source of

motivation. And it feels good. Natural. And the "I could" metamorphoses into "I could, but I

choose otherwise." For the ones in recovery, it's what we call "a clean slate." Experts from State

to State Move share: "On that note, changing your environment could make a positive impact on

your sobriety. There are always potential triggers in familiarity. Relocating and starting anew

could provide sober individuals with a true meaning of a clean slate."

Find your sober love

Substance abuse is not a hobby. It's a pathway to self-destruction, often cloaked in a socially

engaging activity. But its nature is far from anything naïve and harmless; when you're down in

the rabbit hole, the rules are clear: it's every man for himself - and in this case, every man for his

demise. When we're hooked on "feel-good stimuli" nothing can compare. There is no filling the

void. You know and love the high you're accustomed to and chase it. Relentlessly. Everything

else becomes a poorly disguised surrogate. A mimicry. A fool's pastime. Now, the good news.

When you're sober, you can explore (in-depth and with interest) the things (i.e., activities) you

genuinely enjoy. Not the distorted version, the authentic you. The goal is to recognize what

ignites a sense of weightlessness and child-like gaiety. Try:

● instrument lessons (guitar, drums, piano, whatever suits you)

● learning a new language

● poetry

● sculpting

● drawing

● singing (karaoke is fine)

● puzzles, video games, board games - all games

● hiking, running, jogging, gym

● watersports - swimming, snorkeling, diving

● martial arts, yoga

Push, but not too hard

Listen to your body and mind; you already know what's good for your sobriety. Don't overdo it,

though. Learn to give yourself a break. Sobriety doesn't necessarily mean we ought to fall victim

to hypomania (*a mild form of mania, usually expressed through hyperactivity and/or elation).

What do YOU need? A change of personal environment? Pass on your friend's birthday party?

Taking time off? Low key? Or an epic adventure? Learn to recognize your body's cues. What is

it suggesting?

Final words

Lastly, the best way to avoid FOMO in sobriety is to cultivate mindfulness. Strive to become a

self-whisperer, and a listener, for that matter. Practice meditation; with it comes patience. And

with patience comes self-nurture. The more you get to know yourself, the soberer and happier

you will be. No to FOMO. Yes, to self.


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