SFYB Staff Writer

I’ve Been Substituting One Addiction for Another. UGH!!

By: Lisa

So far in my sober journey, I have become aware that there is a syndrome, well at least for me anyway, of swapping addictions.

I have read about it and it can be called swapping one crutch for another.  I became conscious of this and did NOT want to fall into that trap.  What would be the point?

I’ve Been Substituting One Addiction for Another. UGH!!

In the early days of sobriety I was definitely using food and sugar as a major crutch.  I do understand this is normal for many, but it still doesn’t make it ok.  Left unchecked, it could be just as dangerous for your health and well-being, causing, for example Diabetes and Obesity.  I still ‘use’ food and sugar to this present moment, but I am not AS needy.  I am aware of it and try harder to keep it in check.

(Besides, what the hell would I wear if I didn’t, I would have to buy a whole new BIGGER wardrobe and that would be a pain in the arse.  And anyway, most of it was ‘last season’ so I wouldn’t find it again. Horror!!)

There is a myriad of other things you could USE besides alcohol (like I was ) and I am sure I won’t be able to think of them all right now.  But they could include and not be limited to:

  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Drugs
  • Self Harm
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Huffing
  • Gambling
  • Adrenalin
  • Altruism
  • Religion
  • Exercise

I am sure the list is much more expansive than this.

After being euphoric these last few weeks of sobriety, feeling like I was really getting somewhere, I have had a bit of a reality slap today.  I am not complaining, I appreciate anything as an opportunity to learn from these days!

I have made many improvements in my life from stopping alcohol abuse and I will continue on this path BUT there are still areas of my life I haven’t properly addressed that are the root cause of my alcohol addiction. Dam, I thought I had it sussed !!!!

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I have said before and will repeat: addressing the issues that are at the root cause of  addiction is the way to beat the addiction.  I did that, and a lot of my mayhem and unhappiness has improved no end.  Yah!

BUT, today I was reminded that there is still a major issue that isn’t resolved and this has its origins in places that are known to me, so that is a helpful start.  I am also aware of the reactive behaviour I display when I am triggered.  This used to include alcohol abuse but, thankfully, no more.

It may seem I am now using another tool to numb.  Of late, I have become obsessed in the online community.  While it has been a lifeline and immense help to me, I am not going to knock it AT ALL, I must confess to over-use. Moderation is not my strong point!

I’ve Been Substituting One Addiction for Another. UGH!!

So you could say that the Internet and Online Relationships can be another addiction to add to the list above.  I am guilty of this right now, and it is distracting me from facing some REAL HUMAN work that I need to do.

I hold my strong stance that giving up alcohol is NOT just about NOT Drinking.  It is about discovering the wounds that cause the Shame, and subsequent need to Use.  I am still guilty of Shopping as an addiction too, but not as much.

So for me, it is time to acknowledge what I am doing (tick), and put on the Moderation Dress (with matching bag and shoes, of course).

Unconsciously, by ‘accident’  I have  allowed some other addictions to slide In and Out as a way to numb and escape my reality.

I think Mindfulness and Presence are great tools to guard against interchanging addictions.  Sobriety is a life-long journey and is very complicated it seems.  You can easily make a ‘wrong turn’ and not realise you are lost until another Reality Slap comes along.

As long as you can see a Reality Slap as a message to act, hopefully it will become easier for you to notice that you’re Using and you have possibly interchanged one addiction for something else.

If you have, then you are taking yourself away from the REAL work you need to be doing.



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Lisa is a recovering alcoholic, living in New Zealand. She is a middle aged, married mother of three, who owns a successful home-based business. She is also a freelance writer. Lisa likes to share her sobriety journey, hoping it will help others with their addiction struggles.

Filed under: AddictionRecoverySober Survival