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Watching Out for Addictive Tendencies in Recovery

Author Susan Cheever once said, “Addiction isn’t about substance – you aren’t addicted to the substance, you are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.” Addiction isn’t specific to one substance, rather we can become addicted to activities and behaviors that do not rely on substances at all. In recovery, it is very easy to apply our addictive tendencies to something other than mind or mood-altering drugs. These behavioral addictions can be just as damaging to our lives as drugs and alcohol.

Therese Borchard, in her World of Psychology article entitled The Addictive Personality: Why Recovery is a Lifetime Thing, references Craig Nakken, author of The Addictive Personality: “Nakken is right on when he says that it’s important for addicts to understand their propensity or yearning for trance-like states because, in some regards, we have to temper these urges our entire lives. Bottle or no bottle. ‘On some level,’ Nakken explains, ‘the addict will always be searching for an object or some type of event with which to form an addictive relationship. On some level, this personality will always want to give the person the illusion that there is an object or event that can nurture him or her.’” Maintaining an awareness of our tendency to transfer our addiction onto something else can be important in maintaining our sense of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety.

The consequences of behavioral addictions can be just as damaging to our lives as substances were in the past. Jon E. Grant, in a 2016 Psychology Today article entitled What is a Behavioral Addiction, explains, “How does someone get addicted to something without putting an addictive substance into the body? We now know that the brain can react to behaviors much as it does to drugs or alcohol. Certain behaviors produce a strong reinforcement in the brain that makes us want to do them over and over again, even if they interfere with our lives. The reinforcement of the behaviors can be so strong that some people go through withdrawal when they stop the behavior, just as in drug and alcohol addiction. They may become agitated, have trouble sleeping, undergo personality changes, and be irritable.” Just as restlessness, irritability, and discontentment led us into, and exacerbated, our addictions, the same feelings can cause us to engage in other “rewarding” behaviors until we entirely lose control.

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together behavior health and addictions specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to address addiction from every possible angle. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431