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All Good Things in Moderation

Addiction is a complex disease that makes major changes in the brain. These changes affect the brain’s reward pathway, and can lead to compulsive behavior in all pleasurable things, not just drugs and alcohol. It is not uncommon for an individual to stop taking drugs and find that they have transferred their addiction into other activities, such as gambling, eating, or sex. As we engage in a process of recovery, we should be careful not to transfer our addictive behavior to something else by engaging in it to excess.

Everyone suffering from addiction has attempted to moderate their drinking or drug use. We inevitably failed because our addiction had progressed to a point where abstinence was the only possible way to live life successfully. However, the same addictive tendencies that led us to drugs and alcohol can lead us to engage excessively in other activities or substances. Jeanene Swanson, in a 2014 article for The Fix entitled Substituting Addictions, explains, “Substitute addictions aim to serve the same purpose as the original. Dopamine plays a large role, as the same mesolimbic pathways are activated in all kinds of addictions, whether substance or behavioral. After getting sober, many people feel a lack of the neurotransmitter dopamine also known as anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure in positive life events.” When we do not address the underlying causes and contributing factors of our addiction, we are in danger of substituting one addiction for another.

Some substitutes for addiction can appear to be healthy life choices. Exercise, for example, is a positive way to boost our health, but when taken to excess, it can become another addiction. Most commonly, we turn to overeating, sex, and gambling as a way of transferring our addiction. Recovery, however, teaches us to live lives of spirituality, divorced from the selfish and self-seeking behaviors that drive us toward doing things in excess for our own benefit. That is not to say we must live lives completely free from pleasures. We simply must be armed with the facts about ourselves and our addictive natures. Anything can become an addiction if we engage in it excessively and lose control. By exercising moderation, however, we will be able to maintain the happy, joyous, and free lives in sobriety that we had always wanted.

Your life can become one of health and happiness in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a highly effective Residential Program that includes medically-supported detoxification, maintenance care, individual therapies, counseling (including family therapy), and plans to help clients build life skills that will help them after discharge. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431