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Picking the Lesser of Two Evils?

Discussion in 'Dual-Diagnosis Treatment' started by Mims, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. Mims

    Mims Active Contributor

    A question that has been bothering me is about the difficulty of treating two addictions at the same time. I was in a similar position years ago: I was depressed and failing college and started smoking. Eventually, after my situation worsened and my nicotine dependence increased I also became a sex addict.

    I realized the destructive consequences of my habits and tried to go sober on both. In short, it failed and only increased the magnitude of each addiction when I relapsed. After some years and the wonderful people at SAA, I was able to curb my sex addiction, but in response my smoking behavior became more problematic. The funny thing is that my sponsor (also an addiction therapist) recommended I continue smoking while I was in recovery for the sex addiction. She coined it as "picking the lesser of two evils" to stay sober. It worked, but I am still curious to see if anyone else had done the same thing.

    Is choosing one addiction to stop another healthy?
  2. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    I don't know if choosing one addiction to stop another is really healthy, but I know that it works, not that I can remember happening to me, but I have seen results through people close to me who have been in the dilemma of choosing one addiction to fight while continue with the other (or others)

    But certainly fighting two or more addictions at a time seems not to work, and the most healthy I could see is to make a choice for the most harmful of them to be treated first.
  3. Tallyho

    Tallyho Active Contributor

    I can definitely sympathize with the tendency to do that. I have an incredibly hard time trying to quit anything, in part due to depression and PTSD making me a wreck on any given day, and in part due to having no support system to speak of, making it hard to fight for just little old me. That means that I have a LOT of bad "habits," and they tend to fester. If I want to quit one, the others inevitably spike.

    When I quit drinking for about 6 months, my smoking increased exponentially, and so did my sexual behavior, and my risk-seeking, as well as self-harm. I couldn't deal with quitting with only myself for support. Depression makes me not a very supportive friend to myself. I've been quitting habits by replacing them with new ones my whole life, to be honest. It's not fun, and I'm sorry you're going through something similar.

    To answer your question, no, I don't think it's healthy. But I think it's a start. You're making a move to try to lessen an addiction, and that always makes you awesome. Not everyone's ready to quit everything at once (that's one of the easiest ways to set oneself up for relapse, actually), and not everyone can balance chopping off one source of relief while keeping the other at its regular level. Doing things how you have isn't bad of you. Unhealthy and wrong are different. So I hope that while there are more ideal ways to work through something like this, you won't feel badly about yourself or anything for having trouble with it. Take care.
  4. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    Thats an interesting experience. I have had to deal with multiple addictions like alcohol, porn and caffeine addiction. Trying to deal with all these aspects at the same time requires supernatural intervention. The withdrawall reactions can be intense and frustrating. So I first dropped porn, then alcohol. The remaining addiction is to caffeine which is easier and harmless to deal with.