woman enjoying time with friends

How to Overcome Fear of Missing Out

Fear of missing out, sometimes called FOMO, is the nagging feeling that you could or should be doing something better than whatever you’re doing right now. FOMO is often a problem for people recovering from addiction because people often worry that giving up drugs and alcohol means giving up on ever having fun. Getting sober also typically involves breaking off or curtailing certain relationships that would make recovery difficult or impossible and people in recovery sometimes think about their old friends and what they might be doing. Even when life seems pretty good, FOMO whispers in your ear that things could be even better. If you’re sitting on a beautiful beach on a perfect day, it’s FOMO that says, “This is nice, but if I had a beer right now, it would be perfect.” Here are some tips for overcoming FOMO and feeling good about where you are.

Play the tape.

When you start reminiscing about the fun times you had when using drugs and alcohol, it’s crucial to remember that this is a kind of illusion. It’s not that the fun times didn’t happen but rather your brain conveniently forgets about all the terrible times that came with them. In fact, it’s a good bet that the bad times far outweighed the good. When you start thinking about the fun times you had drinking or using drugs and you feel like you’re missing out, play the tape. This simply means thinking all the way through the consequences of drinking or using again. Imagine what happens after the initial gratification. Think about how disappointed you would be having wasted all the hard work you put into sobriety. Think about the people you let down and how you would have to start all over. Most importantly, remember what you were feeling when you decided to get sober in the first place. If you picture all that vividly, you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Avoid Facebook.

Much of FOMO comes from making unrealistic comparisons and social media massively amplifies this unhealthy habit. Everyone’s life looks great on Facebook because they don’t share the bad stuff. They post their party pics but not their hangover pics or their DUI pics. You might know that rationally, but images affect you on a deeper level and you end up feeling like everyone is having fun but you. To fix this, spend less time on social media or quit altogether. 

Practice gratitude.

The reality is that we all have to make choices and no matter what choice we make, the result will be some mix of good and bad. Say, for example, you have to decide whether you want to spend your vacation in the Alps or Mallorca. Either one is likely to be enjoyable but neither will be enjoyable if you spend the whole time thinking about how much fun the other choice would have been. Make the best choice available to you, then focus on the good things that come with that choice. You might miss out on some fun parties when you get sober but on the other hand, you don’t have to deal with the hangovers and DUIs. Your health is better, you feel better, and your relationships are better. There’s plenty to be grateful for in recovery if you just remind yourself to look for it.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138

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