AfterParty Answers: Does Binge Watching TV Have a Negative Impact on Sobriety?

AfterParty Answers: Does Binge Watching TV Have a Negative Impact on Sobriety?


binge watchingOver here at AfterParty, we receive an onslaught of questions from people about addiction and recovery. And well, our video series AfterParty Answers gives us an opportunity to address them. In this episode, Anna David and Danielle Stewart examine past AfterParty stories to answer a reader’s question about whether or not binge watching TV is going to have a detrimental impact on sobriety.

This is an interesting debate for the gals, as one of them is a self-admitted enthusiastic binge-TV-er. They talk about previous stories, including one by the self-confessed binger herself; in it, Stewart mentions a University of California, San Francisco study that was published in JAMA Psychiatry which followed 3,247 people over a 25-year period and determined that the brains of the bingers, and not just their bods, suffered. The long and the short of it is that memory, focus and cognitive sharpness were tested and the people who watched three hours of TV or more a day did worse than those who has watched less TV and exercised more.

There are, of course, many nuances to this query. So if you want our complete answer, check out this vid. While the girls aren’t in any way medical professions (emphasis on “aren’t in any way medical professionals”), they are sober folks who have not only grappled with some of the issues being asked about but have also written scads of articles for this very site on them. Tune in every Wednesday to see what you, our faithful readers, want to know.

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1 Comment

  1. stepsherpa on

    Back when I got sober the last time? Maybe last time not sure, a couple of times before the last time? anyway, not important. I worked for myself basically because I couldn’t hold a job and would try to work until 2 or 3 in the afternoon without Rod Sterling whispering convincing alternatives in my ear. Inevitably running home to my chair and Dialing for Dollars 4 o’clock movie on channel 6 out of Providence RI. Yikes, this is 1981ish, before cable…

    Safe! I was safe to space out with TORA, TORA, TORA, or The African Queen, some, any old movie, I didn’t care really. Sometimes fantasizing what it would be like if I was called, I would know the movie and the amount if my phone rang. This private time was my sanctuary everyday, my safe place to relax before a shower and AA meeting. My one chair that I sat down in with the cushioned arms way up high like a big kangaroo pouch. I’d stare for an hour at my big and grand possession, my rent to own Curtis Mathis color TV. Life was good. I was living sober. Everything was new.

    As sober time went on and without the 12 Steps yet, the depressions came. I’d hide at home from work, people, responsibility, who I was, who I’d been, for the day. Sometimes getting lucky with a James Bondathon “Sean Connery or the Saint guy” to make the time go by until my AA meeting. I’d remember as a kid staring at the surely, nude girl, “defiantly topless” swimming underwater in the beginning of the movie. Almost as good as imagining the shadow of I dream of Jeanie’s pelt. What am I 11? Yup…Damn.

    I can still fade into the security of TV. Movies mostly, the more mindless the better. Yesterday for instance, I was busy getting the boat ready for the water, busy getting lawn tractors up and running, busy cleaning out my truck, busy grocery shopping for two houses. Busy. I decided to sit down for a minute and then eat, shower, and go to a AA meeting before I forget what goes on there, it’s been a while for me. Sure I go and speak at Big Book 12 Step stuff but to just show up and listen? Not so much. Anyway, I blow off the dinner and meeting and watch a real B Chuck Norris movie. It wasn’t one of Chucks best really and even though Chuck can stop bullets with his beard It was a hard watch. So what, nobody was around, I was safe and comfortable in my livingroom. A paid for cushy recliner with high sides and 40” Plasma. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

    I guess you could say I medicate myself with the TV, but to me these days? It’s rare and I see nothing wrong with it. I look forward to the times when I am a zero, nothing in my head but something somebody else thinks or does without my need for input. I sit there alone and at peace. I don’t get involved and yell “don’t go in there!” or behind you! he’s right behind you! I could care less, I’m just glad to be away from the drama of my own life for a bit. A break from my own creature feature.

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AfterParty Magazine is the editorial division of It showcases writers in recovery, some of whom choose to remain anonymous. Other stories by AfterParty Magazine are the collective effort of the AfterParty staff.