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Can’t stop switching addictions

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by Kship01, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Kship01

    Kship01 Member

    Hi, I am 3 1/2 years sober from drugs and alcohol. I am in a 12 step program and seek outside psychiatric help for bipolar disorder anxiety and ADHD. Even though I do those things I still struggle with self destructive behavior and negative self talk. I recently found myself compulsively shopping online. To the point where it has financially hurt my family. Before I was involved in drugs and alcohol I had an eating disorder for many years. I just seem to have this pattern of trading one addiction for another. I’m trying to figure out what the void is I’m trying to fill with food, drugs, alcohol & shopping. There has to be a piece of the puzzle missing in my recovery that I keep repeating compulsive behaviors. Does anyone have any advice on how not to be just drug and alcohol free, but truly free from addiction in general?
    lonewolves, deanokat and Dominica like this.
  2. Dominica

    Dominica Author, Writer, Recovery Advocate Community Listener

    @Kship01 hello and welcome. thank you so much for sharing and congrats on your recovery. 3.5 years sober is amazing, so kudos for that! glad you are in a support group and you really get something out of it...

    addiction transfer can be common. you mention a psychiatrist, which is great. maybe heading to a really good psychotherapist for some "digging" can help with your "void" issues... in case there's some unresolved trauma or wounds from the past... for me, it was a combination of things; therapy, support groups, and a spiritual walk. a guy named adyashanti helped me understand that void you talk about quite well...that feeling of being separated from well, divinity, god, whatever you call it... meditation practice may help too. sometimes sitting with the "silence within" just freaks people out... so they do this and do that... for me, meditation helps me just be... not have to "do" one more thing, and feel alright about it.

    hope this helps, and again, welcome to the community.
    lonewolves and deanokat like this.
  3. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    I have some of the same issues as you and for myself it is a major struggle so i sympathize with you.I wish i had helpful advice here but i dont as my A.D.H.D. is constantly a fight and for myself i know it is gas on a fire that already burns out of control.Stay Strong and God Bless
    deanokat likes this.
  4. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    @Kship01... I agree with @Dominica's suggestion that you try therapy. A good therapist--especially one who specializes in helping people who struggle with addiction--could probably really help you. So often our addictions are a result of root causes we may not even realize exist. A quality therapist can help you discover and confront those causes. And once you do that, overcoming the addictions can be much easier.

    Have you ever tried therapy? If not, definitely consider it. And if you have done therapy before, perhaps try to find a therapist who specializes in addiction.

    Sending you positive juju and hope.
    True concern likes this.
  5. lonewolves

    lonewolves Community Champion

    Lately I’ve been trying to see things from a different perspective, and have come to realize I probably will never overcome addiction. I am trying to see addiction in a positive light, just like my ADHD, and chronic anxiety/depression. There is a good and a bad side to all of it. My addictions have always been so constant, so habitual, so I’m trying to use the same logic to get myself to do regular human things on a daily basis. It’s a work in progress, but if my brain can convince me that I need drugs every day, hopefully one day it will allow me to do things that I can’t seem to do, like brush my teeth daily etc.

    I decided not to take my ADHD meds today so bare with me if this reply doesn’t make sense!
    deanokat likes this.
  6. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    It makes perfect sense @lonewolves and im proud of you,i really am.Much like myself A.D.H.D. is a major factor in how we do things and like ive told you before people without A.D.H.D. cant really understand what a big impact it has on our lives,that doesnt mean there advice is worthless but infact their advice is very helpful at least for myself it gives me something to consider that didnt come from my mind.I dont know what help i can provide but i do understand the A.D.H.D. very well as ive had it for 31 years or so.So if you ever have any related questions to it i will do my best to tell you how it affected myself when i quit the Ritalin.Stay Strong my friend you most definately are not alone.
    deanokat and lonewolves like this.
  7. Kship01

    Kship01 Member

    No, I’ve never done actual psychotherapy. Psychiatrists don’t really do anything for you besides give you meds. And my AA group gives great advice, but they are not licensed counselors. Maybe adding that to my treatment plan would be helpful.
    deanokat likes this.
  8. Kship01

    Kship01 Member

    Thank you for your reply. I am certainly considering therapy. I guess I have some issues buried that I haven’t dealt with fully. Maybe that will be the missing piece of my total sobriety.
    deanokat likes this.
  9. Cametobelieve0202

    Cametobelieve0202 Community Champion

    Hi there!
    So when I was using I had terrible OCD ad well as anorexia and bulimia as well as debilitating anxiety.When I first got sober I started shopping online a bunch cuz it was exciting to get packages and new things and it was sort of a rush. I too am a member of AA. Now I’m not sure why my story differs from yours. But the longer I stayed sober the more those behaviors lessened. I’m wondering why that happened for me and not in your case. I’m trying to think about what I do when I feel the urge to act of I’m implusive thoughts. I often pray. But I think what has helped me the most us telling myself to wait. So when I was first sober and I felt like relapsing I would tell myself. “ Ok, if you still feel like relapsing tomorrow we can revisit that thought again” So I would tell myself to wait till tomorrow and if I still felt like relapsing I’d deal with it then. Every time I woke up the next day I felt much better about whatever was bothering me and making me want to use so. I kind of use a similar technique when it comes to online shopping. I’ll put **** in my cart and tell myself if I still feel like I need those things tomorrow then I can order them. I use this especially when I want to react to someone or something if I’m angry. I’ll tell myself to wait to text them till tomorrow. It’s saved me from causing problems in my life. Idk I hope this helped.
    lonewolves, deanokat and True concern like this.
  10. Cametobelieve0202

    Cametobelieve0202 Community Champion

    And truth be told everyone out there has their ****, no ones perfect. I know plenty of people in recovery who over eat (in my experience that’s the most common). Or they shop too much or they work out too much or they gave codependent tendencies. My point is give yourself a break, I don’t think the “perfect sober person” exists. My parents for example have 35 years reocovering and are literally the greatest people I know. My mom struggles with over eating and my dad threw himself into his job (an AODA counselor for 32 years dealing with people in constant crisis) to the point where he was diagnosed with PTSD. That’s not to say when we see a problem with our behaviors we shouldn’t address it. It’s important to be mindful of our character defects but at the same time you don’t have to be “perfect”. Often times that idea, that all or nothing mentality is what drives our addiction.
    lonewolves, deanokat and True concern like this.
  11. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    Indeed you are correct, everyone has their sh×t none of us are perfect and none of us are exempt in messing up from time to time.We are human and we are all flawed but together with something as simple as understanding and encouraging we can help one another and overcome thing's which often time's seem impossible
  12. Kship01

    Kship01 Member

    Thank you so much for your reply! Seeking that perfectionism has been an issue for me. I am glad to know I am not alone!
  13. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life." --Anne Lamott
  14. Julzygirl

    Julzygirl Active Contributor

    So for me, I am an addict. That means I need to address the addict behavior. The substance I get addicted to is a symptom. Doesn't matter what that substance is because for me, it's the behavior that I have no control over. Does that make sense? Over the years It's been alcohol, cocaine, benzos, opiates, sex, food, shopping, people, artwork, working out, working in general, and the list goes on. Doesn't matter what "IT" is, rather that because I'm an addict, my brain feels a compulsion to use "IT". I used to think that once I stopped using drugs that things would be great and I would be better. It wasn't until I accepted the truth of being an addict and dealing with my issues that things truly became clear. I also have mental issues which I have found go hand in hand with addiction. Anyway, I am an addict for life and as long as I remember that, I can better manage my behavior and not let it compell me to be addicted. Sure there is a void in my life. Always has been but even if that void were filled, I would still be an addict. Nothing wrong with being an addict. No shame in it. It's just something that makes my life difficult and has the potential to kill me if I let it. Ya know that too much of anything can ruin your life. My addict brain hates that!!! Lol. Replacing one addiction with another makes perfect sense if one is an addict. Gotta get inside and look at those gears and that wiring too. Once I realized that I was just different, it made things easier to understand. With that understanding came acceptance, patience, humility and ultimately peace and manageability. Not always easy still but manageable and that's good enough.
    deanokat and Dominica like this.
  15. Dominica

    Dominica Author, Writer, Recovery Advocate Community Listener

    @Julzygirl hey there. glad you're doing alright now. can i ask what kinds of things you do to manage these addictive behaviors? therapy? support groups? etc? just curious.

    i do believe that the way the brain is wired is a factor... i also believe sometimes past trauma or abuse can be a factor in addictive behavior...and well, things we might not ever realize! but super glad you can see the cycle...and can manage it better!!

    thanks for sharing
  16. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    Thanks for sharing your insight, @Julzygirl. I'm glad you found manageability!
    Julzygirl likes this.
  17. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    Interesting "My addict brain"I understand that, odd part is it echo's a few people I have spoken to,the list is short but that statement highlights a few names and if I didn't know better I would think my cousin typed this lol,reading your post felt as if I were talking right to him,he is a good man and very smart and when I first got the thought in my head to get sober he was literally the only person in my family who didn't mock me rather he lifted me up and helped put me on my feet multiple time's, so ya I apologize I realize this "oddity"is irrelevant to what you posted but really it's good to know other's out there get it.YES so when I got sober my "addict brain "became addicted to running, I used it to stay sober and I miss it with a burning passion and can't wait to run again, yes to much of anything can be harmful and again I know from experience, so basically I was running day and night, if I didn't run 4 miles or more I felt like I failed it was like wanting to get high but not having enough dope..so to speak. I ran to the point I blew out my knee and currently wait on knee surgery and the shitty part,besides needing surgery is after I blew out my knee I now have to take a pain pill to be able to walk,which is what I was running to avoid so damnit my escape from addiction became a trap and brought those damn pills back into my life.The only good news out of this situation is I still absolutely hate the pills and I will be having surgery soon to fix my knee and im told I will be able to run again, however I will do it in smaller doses(sound's like an addict rationalizing) and I guess if im being honest that's what it is.This is tough for me because the only thing I am looking forward to right now is dropping the pills and running again....Sh×t my response to your comment has gotten me more confused then ever.Glad you have figured out how to control these addictive tendencies, I apparently have a long way to go.Stay Strong and God Bless
    Dominica and deanokat like this.
  18. Julzygirl

    Julzygirl Active Contributor

    Lol. Make no mistake, I can't control it. I can only manage it the best I can and I've had tons of help!!!!! I just know for a fact that for me talking to others like me helps! I probably sound like people you know because when enough people realize certain truths, they start talking about them. One thing I do know is that maintaining sobriety is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with!!! ****, if my addictions didn't impact my life in such a bad way it wouldn't be an issue but they do and that's why I keep hanging on!!!
    Dominica, True concern and deanokat like this.
  19. Julzygirl

    Julzygirl Active Contributor

    There are many tools I have used over the years. AA, NA, therapy, mediation, self awareness, diet, exercise, music therapy, writing, counceling others like me in need, gardening, art therapy, adopted a pet, medication, yoga, anger management, etc...

    Whatever works at any given time really. That's the main point. There isn't just one simple thing. So, getting clean is the easy part. Staying clean is hard because it's a life long commitment. You basically have to change everything. The only way it becomes easier is if you truly want it and you embrace the positive change. I'm no angel in that I've slipped up many times. The difference in me is that I can see it for what it is and I know why I behave like I do. It doesn't have to be so hard. I like to complicate things. Always somewhere in my thinking, I'm subconsciously looking for a loophole. Like I said before, I will always be an addict but I don't always have to act upon that.

    Yes past trauma and abuse totally correlates. We all have our stories. Mine is just so long and kind of drains me. I was really messed up for many years but I never gave up. As long as I'm alive, there is hope. We are all messed up in some kind of way. No one person is better that another.
    Dominica, True concern and deanokat like this.
  20. Julzygirl

    Julzygirl Active Contributor

    Am I replying correctly here? Thanks for the help!
    Dominica, True concern and deanokat like this.