Addiction is a complex disease that brings about compulsive behaviors to use, and with this comes great vulnerability in finding other things to become addicted to in recovery – even if a person has no intentions of this happening. For many people new to recovery, it’s a process of learning how to live life without substances; it’s hard to break habits, and over time, the mind and body become acclimated to having a drink or using drugs during certain times of the day, around other people, or in certain situations. For those in recovery, it’s about “re-learning” how to live life without certain substances – and learning how to not pick up new addictions in place of the old ones.
Experts have found that those in addiction recovery need to give incredibly careful consideration to what they consume, especially if they have addictive potential.
If you’re currently in recovery, beware of the following substances that have high addiction potential:
Sugar – substances like alcohol and drugs can cause an influx of dopamine, a “feel good” chemical; those in recovery tend to crave sugar because their mind and body are still looking for that “high” that used to come about from using substances.
Caffeine – it’s important to avoid caffeine at all costs in recovery, because caffeine is addictive and also because it puts the body on “overdrive” while also causing dehydration.
Nicotine – many people find that nicotine is a great way to help them relax, but it’s often a replacement addiction for those in addiction recovery, and previous research has shown that it’s better to slowly back away from nicotine in recovery because abstaining from using nicotine can actually boost sobriety.
Food – it’s common for those in recovery to gain a little weight throughout their first year as their body adjusts to new eating patterns; for those who experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, food can become a coping mechanism that can fuel food addiction over time.
Work – even those who’ve been in recovery for quite some time may find the compulsive behavior to work; although this may seem like a healthy obsession, it’s important to find balance, too.
Some of these replacement addictions may seem downright intimidating. If you’re new to recovery, it may feel like a lot of pressure to avoid these types of addictive behaviors – however, too much of anything is considered bad, and it’s important to think about balance and refraining from the things that could hold you back in recovery.
In fact, those in recovery tend to find the most success when they surround themselves with healthy activities that boost their mental, physical and spiritual esteem – if you can get involved and stay focused on pleasurable activities, all that time and energy that would’ve been spent on addictive behaviors now becomes geared towards something useful. You can find some balance in your life by engaging yourself with cooking new meals, trying fun exercises such as yoga, joining a group or cause that you’re passionate about, reading up on literature that excites you, starting meetings with people in your treatment program and more.
Sometimes, it can be incredibly helpful to keep things simple and focus on what makes you happy and healthy. Sleep hygiene, creating healthy breakfast habits, developing hobbies for pleasure and to relax and others are clear examples of this.
If you’re starting to notice that you’re falling into addictive patterns of behavior with other substances or activities, it’s time to re-evaluate. Take a step back and remind yourself of your goal. Explore different steps or strategies that you can take to recovery to help boost your sobriety and get back on track.
Once you commit to a plan, stick to it. Write notes and little reminders to help you continue with what you planned for the day, and you may even want to maintain a diary or journal to record some of your daily experiences. In some instances, it may even be wise to take what’s holding you back away altogether; for example, if you’re trying to cut down on sugar, you could take out all sugary and highly processed foods from your home and replace them with healthy foods – such as fruits and vegetables – to allow your mind and body to readjust to what’s healthier for them.
For many people in recovery, balance begins with going between two extremes. It may take some time to go from eating lots of sugary foods to eating no sugar at all, for example – but it’s all a process, and everything that takes time in recovery is worthwhile. Just remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself time to find out what works for you, and what doesn’t.
If you’re ready to take a stand for your mental, physical and spiritual health, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.