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Addiction Replacement: What Recovering Addicts in Rockford Need to Know

You’ve been warned in a drug rehab in Rockford center and we all have examples: replacing one addiction with another can be dangerous.  People do it all the time; they replace cigarettes with food, alcohol addiction with exercise.  So what’s the big deal?

The truth is, addiction is a complex disease, with physical and emotional components.  Our brains essentially get re-wired in addiction, and transferring our craving from one thing to another, to fill an emotional need, is much easier than uprooting the problem.

But freedom from addiction is possible. Here’s what you need to know.

Recognize an Addiction

Remember when you didn’t know you were an addict?  It was tough to admit, but admitting it is a key and necessary step toward recovery.  Well, replacement addictions can be similarly tough to recognize.  Some common replacement addictions are:

  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Pornography
  • Food (compulsive overeating but also unhealthy food restriction)
  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Overworking

If you spot something on the list, you may have a replacement addiction.  That doesn’t mean that we never work, have sex, go shopping, etc.  So when is it an addiction?  The signs are similar to when you realized you had a substance abuse problem.  Your habit may be an addiction when you:

  • Can’t stop thinking about it.
  • Plan your life around it.
  • Have relationship problems because of your habit.
  • Neglect other areas of your life because of it.
  • Get upset, depressed, anxious or suicidal because of it.
  • Think you “need”
  • Get a euphoria, like a high, from your habit.

Using Replacement Therapy

If you are familiar with replacement therapy in rehab, such as using methadone to assist with heroine withdrawal, the concept can work in your addiction recovery.  A temporary obsession with a healthy hobby can be a useful tool, under the guidance of your counselor.

For example, if you enjoy your work, you can temporarily work more to assist with recovery.  You and your counselor can lay out a specific plan for working fewer hours and finding some additional hobbies or social activities, gradually.

Many an addict has effectively used exercise to assist with recovery.  The hormones produced in exercise give you a natural high, and the effects are cumulative: with consistent exercise you get a better high.

If you binge exercise or overwork long-term, there are negative health consequences, like any other addiction, but they may have temporary value.

Find Your Joy

Life without addiction can be viewed as one of depravation, but that mindset might be the very thing preventing long-term sobriety.  Instead, we can learn to find greater joy.

Try these three simple steps:

  1. Take inventory of what you have as a result of sobriety. Can you hold a job now?  Do you have healthier relationships with friends and family?  What problems did you have when you were addicted, that you don’t have now?
  2. Recognize your triggers as such, just a trigger. When we see them, we can re-channel that situation or sensation into meaningful activity.
  3. Find a passion. Be it community activism, peer coaching, art, whatever makes you more joyful: find a passion.

You can get free from all addiction.

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