Transferring Addictions?!

Written by DeShawn McQueen on Wednesday, 19 December 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

Transferring Addictions

Quite often it is the case that we overcome one addiction, only to develop another. Apparently, that neurosis has to go somewhere. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that we have addictive personalities, or else suffer from gluttony, but when all is said and done, the fact is we just substitute drugs or alcohol for something else!

That something else could be food, gambling, sex, shopping, anger, or even going to so many meetings that we have no time to engage with the "world-at-large"… work, interact with both addicts and non-addicts, alike, to find love, or any number of things.

Personally, I know that once I stopped using prescription pills and alcohol, I picked up a lot more food, like never before. Thank God, I figured that out in time before it got out of hand.

Even today, I struggle with buying excessively. If I get bored, am angry, unhappy, whatever the emotion, I want to purchase something, or spend money just to spend it.

Just yesterday, I had to place an order for something that is a luxury, nonetheless, I love it…….it makes me feel good. Rather than buying what I needed (one), I ordered five. I rationalized all five purchases because I got free shipping, as I spent the qualified amount.

With that said, the more I address uncomfortable feelings, the more conscious and alert I become regarding my addictive habits. Consequently, I take more thoughtful action.

Nevertheless, it is hard to address difficult feelings, not to mention those buried deep in the past, yet continue to somehow come up.

That brings me to another addiction I have thankfully overcome! For a long time I was co-dependent and I never said no, ever! I had to be in the company of someone else no matter how much I was disparaged or treated badly. And, despite the fact that I did not want to go to the "Renaissance festival" or the zoo, or any number of activities, I said yes, because I thought I had to…..God forbid I said no. The thought of confrontation frightened me. Besides, I needed to be around people to validate me.

The worst they treated me, the more I wanted to prove to them that I was worthwhile and could be whoever they wanted me to be.

Perhaps co-dependence was not killing me as overtly as prescription pills were, but it surely was blocking my progress in life. Today, I am proud to say that I have overcome that addiction.

However, now I am at the other end of the spectrum, as I prefer to be alone, because I need "to think about things."

Today, I learning to strive for BALANCE. Like everyone else, I take two steps forward and one step back sometimes. More often than not, I chose people to be in my life based on similar values, not because I need some void filled. The reality is that no person, place or thing can fill that void. Only I can fill that void as I develop a closer connection to my Higher Power.

Yes, I think I know what you are thinking……an addiction in some form or another is inescapable, and perhaps even healthy! I suppose that could be correct…….exercising too much seems like a heathy addiction, or eating exclusively healthy, bland food! Ironically, I am engaging in both of these behaviors at the moment!

What I have learned is to address my addictions, or my "perceived addictions", in the order that they kill, or cause me substantial bodily injury, whether it is physical or psychological. Therefore, if I am addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes, it is a sure bet that the priority should be placed on terminating the use of cocaine and alcohol, rather than cigarettes…..for the time being.

With that said, if it does not kill us and is not illegal, perhaps we should strive for balance.

Maintaining balance is a difficult challenge for me, as it is for the typical addict. More often than not, I do it or I don't, i.e., rather than having a few pieces of Red Vine licorice, I have 3 packages, in one sitting! Or, I drink two 12 ounce coffees, back to back, in less than one hour, every morning no less! If I like a song, I listen to it over and over again, obsessively, as I have been listening to Brandi Carlisle's CD, Bear Creek, the last day and a half.

When I exercise, I exercise to the point of exhaustion, and that is pretty much everyday. I study the same way, and so forth! Perhaps it is alcoholism, or perhaps it is Aspergers, which I was diagnosed with when I was seven.

I am not sure. Nevertheless, although I cannot always turn off the thoughts, or dial down my emotions, I have learned that I can focus on balance and equanimity, and when all else fails, I can pray for Heavenly Father's intervention. So can you!

If you or someone that you love is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, call or text us. We want to help you.

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About the Author

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen is a staff writer at Recovery Now Newspaper and, an informative newspaper that serves as a resource for persons of all stages of drug and alcohol treatment, by giving them access to relevant and necessary information so that they may live balanced and substance-free lifestyles. DeShawn graduated from Wayne State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and premedical sciences. He holds a Juris Doctors degree in law from Valparaiso University School of Law. DeShawn’s writing and research has been published in such academic journals as Behavioral Pharmacology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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