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Quitting Addiction(s) only to be replaced by new addictions?

Old 07-17-2015, 12:01 AM
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Quitting Addiction(s) only to be replaced by new addictions?

So I've a relative handle so far on my early sobriety. I quit drinking and cigarettes, and it feels pretty thoroughly out of my system. Some cravings/flashes, but for the most part it really feels like I've kicked it out. I have much work to do still, but I'm just referring to that feeling of addictive need/want with alcohol/cigarettes.

But what I realized is that over the past 2 weeks, which is now about 2 months into sobriety, that I have entered into 3 absurd "addictions," although it's more like the psychological definition of mania.

I just start to look for something to be addicted to. Two of the things were consumer hobbies, and then the latest is just a revival of a very old, lousy habit of cataloging stuff on webpages that I kicked four years ago.

Is this to be expected? I am truly caught off guard. It completely slipped my mind when I started my sober journey to consider myself as an addictive personality. All I thought was that I can't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes anymore, but now I'm going just about nuts trying to find something to replace them with that it's really rather frightening (and costly!).

Anyone go through this? What can I do to catch myself? It's seriously overwhelming; I get these heat flashes, and then a literal dozen hours pass while I go nuts over whatever I'm manic over.

Never had this before, outside of drinking/smoking of course. Quite unnerving.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:11 AM
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Hello,

My first thought is whatever it is you find yourself doing it has to be massively less harmful to you than inhaling lungfuls of smoke or boozing into oblivion.

FWIW I found myself doing all sorts of weird and very intense stuff when I first quit and it did pass, but I think if you are finding it 'overwhelming' and losing hours, then maybe check in with your doc and see what help is on offer.

Others here will be able to help you far more than me, but I thought I 'd say hi as it looks a bit quiet here at the moment.

Two months is fantastic. Good for you.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:25 AM
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Thanks, @Fradley

I've been doing some kind of odd stuff too :P But this is a bit different. It's not a good feeling with these addictions, with whenever I finish doing whatever leaving me exhausted and unhappy, which is why I'm describing them as so.

They're not as bad as drinking/smoking, but it's not great. I'm just latching onto the internet pretty much and then spending money on stupid stuff that, for five days, I believe are worth collecting or something.
It's just dumb. It really is. But at the same time, these thoughts are so powerful that I don't realize I'm caught in the throe until some amount of days have passed, and that isn't any good.

I guess what I'm asking is: is this something that I need to accept is individualistic and begin figuring what is up with me, or is this a common symptom amongst addictive personalities, and there are methods/steps I can practice so to combat this dependency I have for anything/everything?
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:45 AM
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You aren't alone! I also think that drinking and smoking are far worse than some other addictions. I do tend to get easily addicted to almost anything. It sometimes feels like a game of whack-a-mole! I've spent a good deal of time in therapy which has helped. Mostly now I'm fairly quickly aware when I'm heading toward addiction to something and immediately work to find less harmful substitutes. One example for me: I love to read books. I can get totally absorbed in this but I see it as a comparatively harmless "addiction". For me, anything that produces a certain brain state is addictive. Reading books seems the the least harmful :-)
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:10 AM
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I've discovered since getting Sober I have a very all or nothing approach over a lot of things, either I do it to the extreme or I don't do it at all, my drinking became the same, drinking not to get drunk never appealed.

When it comes to tidying my house, no point if I'm only going to do 1 room, it needs to be every room or when it comes to cooking, no point in making everything from scratch and buying 1 pre prepared ingredient if I can make it fresh.

I guess it all comes down to choosing things that are not damaging to one's self or one's finances, that reminds me I played a chess game the other weekend for 8hrs with a guy, it was a Sunday afternoon, didn't do anything else that day, but the game turned into a marathon and we both agreed to see it to the finish, better that than drinking!!
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:49 AM
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Early on, it helped me to get a planner, and write down tasks for the day to keep me on a healthy track. My plans for the day included a lot of basic stuff like eating breakfast which might come naturally to many, but was new to me as a recently sober person.

Normally, it looked something like this:

time on SR
breakfast
shower
work
lunch
play drums
go for a walk
chores
yoga class
dinner

I found that making a healthy routine and working through my list of healthy recovery behaviors really helped me out.

At first, I had no idea what to do with myself without drinking and smoking taking up large chunks of my time. This really helped me to be productive each day.

I don't know if something like that may help you to direct your time and energy to healthy behaviors and avoid ANY addiction-like things.
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:08 PM
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I think it's useful to differentiate between obsession and addiction.

I can still be obsessive but I try to channel that into useful healthy pursuits.

Researching something is one example.
I think stuff like that enriches me and my life.

If it's something I'm ashamed of or I'm finding it's negatively impacting upon my life and my relationships...if it diminishes me and my life, then it's addiction.

D
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Old 07-17-2015, 06:56 PM
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In the absence of drugs or alcohol, it's natural and perhaps even expected in early sobriety that your addiction will latch onto other things. As long as those things aren't harmful to you I wouldn't worry. The important thing is to stay focused on staying away from drugs and alcohol.

As you continue working on your sobriety and alcohol / drug cravings begin to fade as you grow stronger, then at some point you may feel motivated to look into the other obsessions / addictions.....or not. Ongoing sobriety work brings a growing self-awareness of how and why you behave the way you do. Part of that self-awareness may be the realization that you will never be completely rid of your addictive potential. As you continue to grow, then you will become more keenly aware when your addiction is expressing itself and that's when you have the choice on how you proceed.

My own addictive behaviour shifted when I got sober. First it was sweets and then moved to coffee. I also got obsessed with religion. Continued sobriety work has allowed me to move past that, but I'm under no illusions that the addictive potential is gone. It's sitting there waiting for the perfect storm when it will show it's face again.
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