How to Avoid Replacing One Addiction with Another
Life gives us all obstacles to overcome, and addictions are one of the most daunting. It’s possible to become addicted to nearly anything, even if it seems healthy on the surface. If you’ve overcome an addiction (or had a close call), the most important part of your recovery is recognizing that you have the potential to succumb to an addiction and preventing that behavior from manifesting itself in other ways. You don’t want to go from one crutch to another – you want to be able to walk free.
If you’re worried that you may be replacing one addiction with another, you’ll need to look at the circumstances surrounding the event. Observe your behavior towards whatever it is that you fear may be becoming a substitute addiction, and ask yourself a few questions.
Is It Healthy?
The cornerstone of all addictions is that they’re absolutely unhealthy. Alcohol and drug addiction severely damage the body. Intravenous drug use and sex addiction can even lead to HIV. Any new hobbies you pick up should ideally enhance your health, or at the very least not pose the potential for damaging consequences. Kicking your addiction should help you get healthy. Anything that increases the possibility that you’ll live an unhealthy lifestyle could possibly be a substitute addiction.
Is it Helping You Grow?
Addictions prevent personal growth. So much time is spent with the substance or object at the source of the addiction that all of the good things fall by the wayside. Addictions should be replaced with productive hobbies or journeys, such as continuing education or joining a book club. If whatever activity you’re participating in isn’t enhancing your ability to be your best self, it’s time to examine the hindering impact that activity may be having on your life.
Are You Enjoying a Wide Variety of Activities?
Addictions have a tendency to be time consuming. Even if you feel as though you’re healthy and able to manage the things you need to do to survive, such as attending work or keeping up with your home, how much else are you doing? If you only want to do one thing with your free time, this might be troublesome. Addiction narrows focus and changes priorities, and while it’s okay to have an occasional passion project that takes up a lot of your time, you don’t want anything to completely consume your life.
Is it Financially Limiting?
Being able to keep a budget is necessary for taking control of your life. Bills are absolutely necessary, but it’s nice to be able to contribute to a savings account for emergencies, holidays, or vacations. If you find yourself spending money on something to the detriment of your budget, this is a warning sign of a substitute addiction. Some people stop smoking and find themselves spending more than the money they saved on junk food, which can technically become a food addiction. You want your finances to be in better condition after you’ve overcome an addiction.
Think About How You Feel
Perhaps the largest warning sign that you’re developing a substitute addiction is the way you feel. You know what it felt like to develop your first addiction. It always starts out as a good feeling before slowly completing a metamorphosis into a terrible feeling. If you’re beginning to feel that way again, it’s time to be proactive.
Some people naturally have addictive personalities. If you’re one of the people, it’s crucial to recognize that quality in yourself and learn your own warning signs. This can go a long way in keeping you safe.