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How Do I Avoid Substitute Addictions?

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Once treatment happens for alcoholism or drug addiction, your hope is to have overcome the compulsion to turn to use that old substance of choice. In recovery, you learn new coping skills and surround yourself with people who understand what it is like. Substitutions happen when you are trying to numb or avoid the pain of recovery and struggle with old habits. Learn some tips for how to avoid some of the more common missteps that occur with substitute addictions.

Food Addiction

One of the most common substitutes people end up in recovery with is food. It is easily available, legal, and something you have to have each day to survive. Reaching for extra calories is not unheard of in recovery. If you are looking to fill a hunger inside you that you don’t quite understand, all you know is overeating makes you feel better when you cannot numb your feelings any other way.

Gambling Addiction

Some people feel life in sobriety needs more excitement. Gambling may come as a result of scratch tickets, online gambling, or casinos. When you cannot control the impulse to gamble and want to gamble in spite of negative consequences, you may have replaced addiction to alcohol or drugs with compulsory to get off of right away. These behaviors could be a sign you are looking for someone outside yourself to fill a hole that cannot be filled.

Work Addiction

When you work too much, you may be filling in those empty spots in your life that could be working as a substitute for your drug of choice. You might feel your career suffers and you want to prove to others you can be successful. You may start to approach work in a compulsive way and find you cannot stop working. When other aspects of your life are being neglected, this is a sign you need to work on your life.

Shopping Addiction

Being unable to stop shopping, especially when it causes financial challenges, is a sign shopping is an addiction and needs to be controlled. Buying more than you need, buying extra of things, or just shopping for the thrill, then realizing it did not fulfill you and so you keep shopping hoping to fill up that space inside of you is considered addiction. Even if you don’t recognize it as such because your other addiction was not quite the same, it is still negatively impacting your life.


You may turn to any of these or numb your feelings and try to escape from reality. It is important to recognize when you are substituting the drug of choice with a different substance or behavior that is unhealthy.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare knows that lifetime sobriety, health, and wellness, are completely possible. Each of our treatment programs offer the opportunity for holistic healing utilizing an integrative approach for the recovery of mind, body, and spirit. You can recover. You will recover. Call us today for more information: 844-560-7269