Addiction can come in many forms, and often, individuals who are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse find themselves moving towards other types of addiction without even realizing what they are doing. This happens when we try to fulfill a need inside ourselves without looking for the reason why the need exists.
Many individuals in recovery say they’ve used food, sex, shopping, and gambling in an attempt to patch up the hole inside them that drugs or alcohol once filled. When they find that those things don’t work, they move on to the next. This method is, for obvious reasons, unhealthy and can lead to depression or even suicidal thoughts if untreated.
One of the first steps toward getting on the right track is to think about the reasons why you are doing something to excess and how it makes you feel. Sometimes, it might even be something that seems healthy at first, such as exercising; however, if you’re doing it to excess or obsessing about it, that activity is no longer healthy.
You may think that working out every day for a couple of hours can’t be a bad thing, but it’s not necessarily the action that’s unhealthy, it’s how it makes you feel. Once you become obsessive over something, you are attempting to substitute your addiction, and that type of behavior is indicative of something bigger. The key is to learn how to identify this behavior and figure out why it exists in the first place.
Here are some of the best ways to do just that.
Listen to your friends and family
It can be very difficult to listen to others, especially when you feel like they don’t understand what you’ve been through. However, your close friends and family have the ability to see things clearly from a different angle, and if they notice addictive patterns emerging in your behavior, they will likely get worried and speak up. Listen to what they have to say without being defensive; they may be able to help.
Recognize the difference between a healthy hobby and an addiction
Many people in recovery use art therapy and exercise to help them get through the difficult times, and that’s perfectly okay. Having a hobby that allows you to express yourself in a positive way or boost your self-esteem is wonderful; it’s when you allow it to dictate your schedule, or forget to eat or break off appointments because you just have to get in one more workout, that it becomes a problem.
In order to create a balance, limit the time you work on your hobby. Make a schedule and stick to it. Not only can this help you keep healthy habits, it can also allow you to get organized and stay on top of things, which is a great way to feel good about yourself.
Ask for support
If you feel that there is a deep need to hone an addiction to something, it may be necessary for you to seek therapy or counseling outside of your substance abuse counseling. If the thought of this makes you uncomfortable, consider looking for an online support group where you can remain anonymous if you choose.
It’s also important to find help from your friends and family. Let them know that you need support on your journey and, if they are receptive, talk to them about what you’ve been through. You may be able to gain some insight as to why there is an unfulfilled need inside you.
Remember that recovery is a one-day-at-a-time deal. It can be a difficult road, so having as much support as possible is important. Try to be open to your friends and family and listen to what they have to say.