Alcohol and drugs are not the only thing people become addicted to. There are other ways that addiction shows up, especially with certain behaviors. An addiction is best described as anything that you obsess about, compulsively do, and that has a negative impact on your life. Those of us in recovery from drug addiction need to be vigilant that our addiction doesn’t turn into another addiction. So here, in no particular order, are 7 signs you’re just substituting addictions.
#1. You go to the gym twice a day, every day
Of course exercising is healthy. But, it can be detrimental if you are constantly working out. It’s just not healthy. A lot of a good thing isn’t necessarily good for you and, if exercising is merely to keep you from thinking about using then, you’re probably substituting addictions.
#2. You seem to acquire a lot of stuff
You are a compulsive shopper. Like, seriously. You have an overflowing closet full of clothes and shoes and probably only wear about 15% of your wardrobe. You might also collect lots of furniture, electronics, and anything you might deem ‘collectible.’ Make-up, accessories, watches, jewelry, you-name-it; you’re substituting addictions if you think shopping fills that inner void.
#3. You can’t understand why you’re still broke (even though you’re not buying drugs anymore)
It’s because you’ve replaced the time it takes getting and using drugs with long days and nights at the casino or on your laptop playing online poker. You get a ‘high’ when you win and, even when you’re ahead, you can’t just walk away. You’re just substituting addictions if you find yourself chasing that high of gambling and winning, especially when you’re in over your head.
#4. You are never alone
Like Taylor Swift, you’re a serial dater. In fact, you can’t not be in a relationship. And if it’s not a romantic relationship with which you’re obsessed, then it’s a friendship. You seem to not only want to spend all of your time with that other person, or thinking about that other person but, you need them. It’s like, you don’t know how to just be without defining yourself by some kind of relationship, friendship or otherwise. There’s a name for this; it’s called being codependent and many of us in recovery for addictions also struggle with codependency.
#5. “Who did I sleep with last night?”
In other words, you leap from sexual partner to partner. You might see it as frivolous fun but, if you find yourself only being able to connect with another human being is with your ‘naughty bits’ well, then you might have a problem with sex addiction. If you look to sex as a way to feel better about yourself, this is a red flag that you are substituting addictions: sex for drugs.
#6. You spend long hours at the office and check work email from home
You’re married to the office (or whatever line of work you’re in). You prioritize work over your marriage, family, friends, hobbies, etc. People might throw around the term ‘workaholic’ loosely but, it really does exist and, in fact, there’s a 12 step support for people with a work addiction.
#7. You play online games or get stuck in “the ‘book” all night
Internet addiction is a real thing, especially if you find that the internet is eating up all of your personal time. If your relationships, job, and other interests suffer because you’re spending all of your waking (and sleeping) hours gaming or Facebooking (or Pinteresting or Instagramming), you just might be substituting your drug addiction for an internet addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse or other addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.