InstaRecovery Center Opens in Wyoming
Due to the exponential increase in excessive hashtaggers, photo editors who overdose on filters, and chronic selfie addicts in 2016, Jared Hawthorne saw a need in society for a space for people to reintegrate back into the #nofilter real world, thus founding InstaRecovery in February of this year.
“I felt that I could offer this space, in a part of Wyoming with no cell service, and no wifi, because I too had been on the other side of the spectrum.” Hawthorne tearfully recalls a time back in 2015 when his friends and family had staged an insta-vention on him after he started speaking in Instagram captions and seeing the world through Mayfair and Valencia filters. “This retreat center is meant for the most severe addicts, those who only post photos with Snapchat filters or who get a nervous tick in their thumbs from refreshing their ‘like’ feed for the 2 hours following the posting of a photo.”
InstaRecovery takes only 10 patients at a time, so everyone gets the specialized care they need. Though the name implies that most of the patients would be Instagrammers,Hawthorne notes that the facility has also seen a lot of Snapchatters,“mainly teenagers,” and Facebookers, “mainly outspoken aunts whopost non-sequitor comments on relatives’ photos and share politicalspam.”
Patients are greeted by Hawthorne, a team of psychologists, an occupational therapist (“to help regain finger range of motion after being glued to phone”), and a shaman (“we want to show people that the spirit world can be just as magical as the cyber world.”). Patients spend their days learning to reconnect with nature, regain basic social skills with other humans in real time, and every evening all patients are required to watch the most beautiful sunsets- without any phone to document the beauty. Each patient also gets an hour a day to play with puppies. “This is one of the most crucial aspects of our treatment,”Hawthorne notes. “While patients are used to feeling worthy of loved based on how their social media posts perform, the puppies remind them that they can beloved without being ‘liked.’ Even though patients eat 3 locally-sourced meals a day, Hawthorne notes the center takes extra care to make the food look unappealing. “We intentionally prepare the food to look very aesthetically displeasing, so recovering food bloggers won’t be psychologically triggered to photograph their food.”
The center has already seen 15 success stories, including a few celebrities that had a blue check mark by their name on Instagram. One “verified” celebrity who chooses to remain anonymous says “the center reminded me that my validation is more than my like to follow ratio. I should try to be as fun and interesting in person as people think I am on my Instagram,” she pauses. “It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there.”
“The mostimportant things in life can only be felt, not ‘liked,’ and that’s what we tryto re-teach people,” Hawthorne says. “I feel #blessed to be doingGod’s work here outside the screens.” Hawthorne notes that thecenter is already booked until November but if you like InstaRecovery onFacebook and take an selfie with the hashtag #instarecovery you’ll be enteredto win a free week at the center.