Replacement addictions and your substance abuse program

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Replacement addictions and your substance abuse program

  1. 1. Replacement Addictions and Your SubstanceAbuse ProgramJanuary 21, 2013| Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May, 2013 14:14Often times when a person leaves behind the hell of addiction, they are left with a void in their life.Regardless of their drug of choice, most people will try to find something to fill that void. Some turnto spirituality, others to religion. Some unfortunately fall into the trap of a replacement addiction.“This can be anything; gambling, weed, food, exercise, adrenaline, sex, etc.”Replacing AddictionReplacement addictions can seem harmless or even helpful, but they still serve the same purpose as theaddiction they are replacing. They take you away from reality and let you escape from whatever isgoing on. They take you outside of yourself and make you feel better. A popular saying is “When youput down the spoon, you pick up the fork.” This refers to the way many recovering opiate users willuse food to replace their drug of choice in sobriety. I have personal experience with this and can verifythat it is a common practice and it can be just as debilitating and harmful as heroin addiction.Adrenaline AddictsHigh risk behavior is another common replacement addiction. When people are new in sobriety, theyare excited about it. They want to go out and experience all the things in life that they missed whenthey were using. This can lead to them doing things in order to feel as good as they did when theywere using. I personally used to go bridge jumping. This is the practice of going to a bridge andjumping off it into a body of water.The rush you get from this kind of behavior can become a new kind of addiction that the person sees asokay because they aren’t using any kind of substance to achieve it. An extreme sport is a big draw formany people in recovery. Bridge jumping, reckless driving, sky diving, base jumping, all of thesethings are fine, but it’s when they cross that line and become an obsession that you have to be careful.Hobby or AddictionEven positive routines can become replacement addictions. Reading, exercising, shopping, gaming, allof these can become replacement addictions as well. Most people on this planet have at least oneaddiction, whether they recognize it and admit it or not. Not all addictions are physically unhealthy orharmful, but even they carry the risk causing some form of mental instability. We’ve all heard thestories of people whose routines are disrupted and they suffer some kind of psychotic episode andinjure the people around them. Addiction to routine can just as dangerous as any other addiction.

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