When you start a new life of sobriety, it’s important to practice healthier coping skills and discover new activities or habits that can fill your time other than your addiction. This may seem like a simple task at first, but what if you end up replacing your addiction with another one that’s just as harmful.
What is Replacement?
Replacement is a common technique used in addiction recovery that allows a person to avoid engaging with an addictive substance and fill the time in their day with a new and different activity. However, a replacement can also cause problems if an individual becomes dependent on a new substance or behavior in the process, creating a new addiction, for example, replacing cocaine with alcohol. Another typical example is replacing a substance use addiction with cigarettes.
While this approach may seem to work by successfully helping an individual stop their use of a particular substance, it can leave a person suffering from an addiction to a new substance or behavior that needs to be addressed as a result. In practice, this may help a person overcome an immediate problem but may not necessarily lead to a healthy lifestyle. It is essential to monitor how an individual uses the technique to avoid other harmful effects.
However, a replacement can be utilized to great effect with proper guidance and intention. Instead of replacing an addiction with whatever may seem to distract a person the most, it is possible to consciously harness one’s urges to empower healthy and progressive actions. Taking a walk or jog while going through an urge can instill early physical improvement practices as a replacement technique with an overall positive result.
Creating a Rewards System
Rewards are a key part of recovery. Nothing about overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol is easy. It is essential for success to be acknowledged and rewarded regularly as one overcomes many changes every day. Rewards can give each person something to look forward to through the week and be highly personalized to ensure that they are relevant. Proper utilization of a rewards system can be crucial in establishing and maintaining one’s sobriety. However, they can help an individual begin developing a replacement addiction if left unmonitored.
Using rewards like treating a person to a shopping trip for reaching a milestone in their recovery journey is undoubtedly powerful. However, making this kind of reward too grand or employed too often can lead a person to develop a new shopping habit.
From daily practice to rewards systems, moderation is essential in preventing any other addictions or dependencies from developing through the recovery process. Some may become dependent on the satisfaction they experience from earning a reward, making it the only reason they maintain their sobriety.
A mindset that is reliant on a single action, substance, or even person can be dangerous in the recovery sphere and beyond. It is important to regularly reevaluate one’s relationships with their coping strategies and rewards systems to keep one’s goals focused at all times. Losing sight of one’s commitment to adjusting their behaviors and mental state can endanger the pursuit of long-term recovery.
Addiction is a complicated disease that has no single solution. An over-reliance on a single coping mechanism or replacement can inhibit the effectiveness of other therapeutic approaches and compromise the potential success of each individual’s sobriety.
Moderation in Addiction Recovery
Moderation is a vital part of any recovery plan, and it is necessary to moderate how a person engages with their rewards or replacement techniques. Keeping a physical record of how much money a person is spending on replacement techniques can track one’s reliance on a single coping mechanism. Having a rotating system with several meaningful, personal rewards can keep each fresh while preventing a replacement addiction from developing. Shopping, gambling, and even sugar can all become their replacement addictions so long as they target dopamine receptors in the same way that one’s use of drugs or alcohol used to. Keeping track and being mindful of how each individual interacts with their rewards and replacements can allow them to continue to utilize a potent recovery tool in a healthy, productive way.
Moderation is essential through the recovery process. Creating a personalized approach to your recovery can empower each individual with the agency they need to moderate themselves while keeping focused on their sober future. At Avalon Malibu, we champion your individuality and work with you to empower the agency and decision-making skills needed to thrive in your new, sober world. We offer an array of programs, from detox services and residential treatment to intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs. Our programs can be further individualized to fit your needs and goals in recovery through a breadth of various therapeutic approaches, including meditation, yoga, cognitive-behavioral therapy and seasonal ropes courses. We offer a neurofeedback approach and much more. For more information on how we can create a recovery program that is right for you, call to talk to one of our caring, trained staff members today at (844) 857-5992.