There are so many addictions that have nothing to do with addictions to drugs or alcohol. So many of us suffer from workaholism, sex addiction, relationship “isms”, shopaholic “isms” and other such destructive “isms”. Many former drug addicts and alcoholics who recover from their addiction don’t understand how to live a moderate, balanced lifestyle, and so they turn to other addictions.
Some of these addictions, such as exercise, can be beneficial for both the mind and body, but if they overtake one’s life, they can spiral out of control. So which are the biggest “isms” to watch out for in sobriety that can lead us away from a relationship with a Higher Power and a more balanced lifestyle? Here is some of the key non-drug and alcohol related addictions to watch out for, and explanations on how they can become destructive.
1.Shopping Addictions. Many ex addicts form addictions to shopping. According to an expert, shopping addictions, “affects about 18 million people in the United States. It’s described as the compulsion to spend money, regardless of need or financial means.” Furthermore, “people with shopping addictions get the same rush or high from the purchase as someone who misuses drugs gets from using.” This can lead to financial ruin, relationship problems, depression, and even in some cases, arrests.
Like other addictions, those who compulsively shop are trying to fill a void that is otherwise empty. Many times, ex drug addicts turn to shopping after they get clean to fulfill the same type of rush they got while abusing drugs and alcohol. Shoplifting is also another problem that causes a rush for those who partake in it. Compulsive stealing can lead to arrest, financial destitution, and other serious problems.
2.Sex Addiction. Sex addiction is recognized as a disorder by the psychiatric community and there is treatment available in the form of counseling and rehab for sex or pornography compulsions. Sex addiction causes, “ symptoms of anxiety, a feeling of powerless over how one acts sexually, and shame, loathing, and embarrassment over sexual acts.” Sex addiction can cause enormous problems within relationships and can lead to divorce. Often times, sex addicts do love their spouses and hate their compulsion to sleep with other people, but feel a complete sense of helplessness when it comes to stopping.
3.Work Addiction. You may ask, what’s wrong with working too hard? Well, there are worse things in life, certainly. However, when work takes over time spent with family, friends, and becomes one’s entire purpose for existence, then becoming a workaholic is just as much of an addiction as any problem with drugs or alcohol.
Oftentimes, workaholics use work as a means to escape from outside problems or relationship issues. One unhappily married man at a local Orange County AA Chapter explained, “I use work because it distracts from the fact that my marriage is failing. I also became obsessed with making money so I could buy things for my kids because I felt guilty about fighting with my wife. I should have just admitted that the marriage wasn’t working, gotten a divorce, and moved on. But instead, I used work the same way I used alcohol and drugs. It became my escape from the reality I lived in.”
Another woman explained that she used work to escape from depression after giving birth.” I wasn’t bonding with my baby. I was unhappy and angry that I had to stay at home. Instead of talking to my sponsor about it, I used my frustrations and channeled them into my own work from home business. I didn’t even want to work. I just wanted to do something that could take my mind off of how unhappy I was.”
Any addiction that serves as an escape mechanism is an unhealthy addiction. Is it better to be obsessed with working 18 hours a day then doing drugs 18 hours a day? Of course. Is it better to have an addiction to smoking cigarettes than it is to crack cocaine? Health wise, cigarettes are bad for you, but they won’t affect your mental capacity the same way crack cocaine does, so yes. Is it better to have compulsive sexual relations with your wife then it is to go out and score drugs? Any type of addiction that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol is better than an addiction that involves dangerous substances.
However, when an addiction serves as a method for escapism, and creates an alternative method for the ex addict or alcoholic to release his or her unhappiness in another direction, then the addiction has become a problem. The purpose of programs such as the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and rehab centers of Footprints Behavioral Health is to learn coping skills and spiritual principles that ease addictive tendencies not enhance them. Simply replacing one addiction with another less harmful addiction is not going to solve the underlying problem-the problem of emotional instability and harmful thought processes.
Do you suffer from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or another non-drug related addiction? Do you want to be free of any and all types of addictions that are causing a negative influence in your life? Contact Linda Rose today at 949-558-4723 and get started on your roadmap towards recovery