Replacing one addiction with another seems like the best way to over come substance abuse. When I first came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I figured I was going to learn how to drink like normal people. I couldn’t wait to have one glass of wine with dinner at Christmas and be able to hold conversations with friends and family.
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Much to my surprise, this was not the case. Luckily, and thanks to good sponsorship, I learned that my problems weren’t only with drugs and alcohol, but my lack of power over… let’s be honest, almost every other aspect of my life. So I decided to stick around. Slowly but surely, as I gained some steam in sobriety, I began to feel human again… and not so slowly at all, started replacing one addiction with another.
Replacing One Addiction With Another: I Wasn’t Alone
Thankfully, I learned that I wasn’t alone in my Alcoholics Anonymous. We get jobs back, save a little cash, start feeling confident, and want to experience everything we have missed out on for so long. Many of us strive for success in business, relationships, social circles, or in my case, eating two pints of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting (the first step is admitting I’m powerless over ice cream and my life has become unmanageable). However, being the good alcoholics we are, we usually strive for perfection or nothing, and when we don’t achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, we quit altogether.
I remember my initial goal for myself when I first got sober was to become a world-renowned therapist, bigger than Jung and Freud combined! I was going to be famous and help everyone I came across. At least until I realized how much school cost and how little my waitressing income was actually bringing in. So I quit. And changed my “perfect future” to finding and marrying the first boy that paid me any attention. Never did it cross my mind that maybe I should focus on AA instead of replacing one addiction with another (people, things, clothes, ideas, etc). Once he left, low and behold, I relapsed shortly after.
To be honest, there are probably countless AA’s out there who followed this same routine.
Once we abandon our usual remedy for our feelings (drugs and alcohol) we find that we can be temporarily subdued by substituting money, success, power, food, appearance, etc., and achieving our own little short lived high.
Replacing One Addiction With Another – Work Tirelessly to Achieve Superficial Goals
While we work tirelessly to achieve these superficial goals, we tend to put our sobriety on the backburner. We can want so badly to feel “normal” that we let our dedication slip away. As someone who has experienced several relapses by doing just that, here are a few pieces of advice that have worked for me;
- Find a good sponsor, call that sponsor every day. If one person is familiar with your habits, it will be easier for them to spot when you’re out of line.
- Find a higher power that works for you, talk to them often. (If you find that your higher power is the gym, money, another person, etc. you’re doing it wrong!)
- Whenever you’re feeling bogged down by the world, stop and breathe. Is it worth it, or is it temporary? You should probably call your sponsor and then ask your higher power for clarification… just to be safe.
Old timers in AA will tell us, whatever you put before your sobriety, you will lose. I know you’re probably wondering, “well what about my children?” or “what about my job?”, or maybe even “what about that attractive person I desperately need to like me?” I want you to know, I understand. The world understands. What the world does NOT understand is how we seem to forget all those things we hold dear when we are out drinking and getting high.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself replacing one addiction for another, you are not alone, and it’s the simplest thing in the world to stop! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment services for men and women. Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.