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Should You Avoid Excess in Sobriety

Men and women suffering from the disease of addiction have a tendency to take all things to unhealthy extremes. There is a very real danger of individuals in recovery transferring their addictive tendencies to a behavior, such as gambling, sex, or exercise, or to other substances, such as caffeine, nicotine, or food.

The disease of addiction disrupts the reward system in the brain, and it is possible to become addicted to anything that provides a feeling of reward. In the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse’s Introduction to Behavioral Addictions, Jon E. Grant explains, “Several behaviors, besides psychoactive substance ingestion, produce short-term reward that may engender persistent behavior despite knowledge of adverse consequences, i.e., diminished control over the behavior. These disorders have historically been conceptualized in several ways. One view posits these disorders as lying along an impulsive-compulsive spectrum, with some classified as impulse control disorders. An alternate, but not mutually exclusive, conceptualization considers the disorders as non-substance or “behavioral” addictions.” Essentially, certain behaviors that trigger a sense of reward can lead to psychological addiction that can be just as damaging as addiction to drugs or alcohol.

If we are to avoid falling victim to compulsive behavioral addiction or transferring addiction to other substances, we must exercise moderation and live by the spiritual principles of recovery. If we allow behaviors to take the place of our previous addictions to drugs or alcohol, we may find that our life becomes unmanageable and we are suffering from major life consequences and unmanageability. This is because psychological addiction to behaviors mirrors the way that substance addiction works on the brain. Grant further explains, “Many people with pathological gambling, kleptomania, compulsive sexual behavior, and compulsive buying report a decrease in these positive mood effects with repeated behaviors or a need to increase the intensity of behavior to achieve the same mood effect, analogous to tolerance. Many people with these behavioral addictions also report a dysphoric state while abstaining from the behaviors, analogous to withdrawal.” We could unwittingly allow ourselves to develop new addictions that are just as damaging as our substance use. As Epicurus once said, “Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.”

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mind. You can begin the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, believes in addressing all aspects of addiction, including the mind, body, and spirit, to help you develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431