Why Substituting Addictions Can Doom Your Recovery

Substituting addictions – you see it all the time; gatherings of smokers outside the AA meeting door, boy meets girl on AA campus, maxed out credit cards, a rapid 20 lb weight gain. People seeking to quit an addiction typically lean on other vices to help them cope with their new sobriety.

It’s even encouraged: the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous recommends stocking up on sweets to curb the alcohol cravings; some doctors might encourage a patient to quell restlessness with “safe” distractions such as shopping,Why Substituting Addictions Can Doom Your Recovery Articles TV or exercise; addiction counselors generally concur it’s better to gain a few pounds than relapse with drugs, alcohol or anorexia, so they sanction the late night Haagen-Dazs binge. Then there are those who, post-treatment, indulge in workaholism and hyper-activity in an attempt to avoid their feelings. (This, of course, only increases stress, which can tip a person closer into the dangerous territory of relapse.)

Sadly, most addicts are satisfied with only stopping their primary addiction while other destructive habits remain unaddressed. Some may even rationalize that no one ever died or was incarcerated for indulging in sugar, caffeine, and cigarettes, so a little latitude should be in order.

No, they may not result in incarceration or job loss, but at what point can these indulgences inhibit true recovery and even be the first step in relapse of one’s main addiction?

People seek recovery in order to stop their addiction and live a new, clean life. Yet if they’re still practicing other addictions, how sober are they? When they still distort their reality with alternate addictions, how much peace of mind can they attain?

As president of The Nelson Center for Emotional Healing I see this all the time. Clients come to us with a laundry list of destructive habits that are making their lives unmanageable. Women, for example, after stopping drinking, will revert to their original addiction to food and practice bulimia or binge-eating for relief. Men and women will seek comfort and escape in sex addiction when they don’t have other addictions to fill the void they feel. We help them face the root cause of their addictions so they can finally get off the addiction merry-go-round and no longer have to escape with any addiction.

Substituting addictions impedes recovery and even causes relapse in two ways: First, if we are using any addiction, obsession or compulsion, it’s on account of a conscious or unconscious desire to cover up pain. If we avoid emotional pain long enough with other addictions and behaviors, that pain may require stronger painkillers and drive us back to our original “drug of choice”.

Second, when we use anything to avoid our feelings, our ability to cope with those feelings diminishes; using substances or unhealthy activities as coping tools precludes us from depending on our new tools of recovery. So when larger issues and troubles come our way, we don’t have the strength or maturity to deal with them. Once again, we turn to our old addictions for a quick fix.

So how does a person break free from all the addictions and unhealthy behaviors instead of “switching deck chairs on the Titanic”?

Instead of rationalizing these “other addictions”, why not treat them as broken coping tools that beg to be replaced with more effective ones, such as writing, meditation, self-expression and connection with others going through similar experiences?

Drawing attention to our lesser addictions and “bad habits”, when appropriate, and at the appropriate time, can help uncover deeper wounds that require healing. Deeper healing ultimately means a greater experience of freedom.

If your channels are blocked, why not explore what habits might be contributing to this block, and see that there is more clearing and subsequent freedom awaiting you? “Happy, joyous and free” is a promise of recovery, but only when addictions are no longer blocking our experience of these gifts.

Overcoming Addictions through Tearing Down Strongholds in our Minds

Addictions result from major emotional strongholds in our thought life. Overcoming addiction is possible. Learn about strongholds and how to pull them down in your life; a spiritual stronghold is similar to medieval fortress.

Healing addictions starts in the battlefield of the mind. Spiritual strongholds can be torn down that keep people stuck in patterns of addiction. Overcoming the thought patterns that lead to addiction is essential to healing addictions of all kinds: smoking,Overcoming Addictions through Tearing Down Strongholds in our Minds Articles over eating, alcohol, drugs, sexual addictions and more. There is a connection between stress and addiction and disease and between negative emotions that the Bible calls sins. People who are stuck in a pattern of addiction often focus on the behavior and struggle to stop the unhealthy behavior but the truth is that the underlying negative emotions are the sin that is resulting in the manifestation of addictions. Overcoming addictions and healing addictions is possible as we look at the pathway of temptation into the sin that has us entangled in addictions. We must accept and acknowledge the link between negative sinful emotions and thoughts and addiction in order to get set free.

Major emotional patterns that lead to various addictions are all the result of negative thinking; this thinking comes from spiritual darkness and it is designed to separate us from God and the promises of the kingdom. Addictions are the result of major emotional strongholds. Overcoming addiction is possible as you learn about strongholds and how to pull them down in your life. A spiritual stronghold is similar to a medieval fortress. This fortress is created in our lives through unhealed wounds which are caused by traumatic events in our lives. These strongholds are built similarly to a castle; stone by stone and thoughts by thought. Over a period of time the thoughts become so common to us that we forget that they are there and we don’t recall ever thinking or believing differently.

Believing the lies of a stronghold can create a feeling of security but it keeps us in bondage or in prison on the inside while it prevents others from being able to help us from the outside. When you are dealing with overcoming a stronghold of addiction you cannot simply say no to the addiction. Strongholds are fortresses of thought patterns that give strength to addictions and other sinful life patterns such as depression, stress, and more. These thought patterns give the enemy access to our thought in order to harass or oppress us. A stronghold cannot be attacked successfully head on; instead it must be dismantled thought pattern by thought pattern. Healing addiction is possible as you dismantle the lies that allow that sin to have power in your life.

Strongholds are brought down as we take thoughts captive to the truth offered through Jesus Christ. We must cast down our own understanding and the thoughts that are protecting addiction in our lives. Breaking our agreement with our negative feelings and the enemy’s lies will set us free to agree with the Word of God. Confessing the truth of God and renouncing the lies of the enemy is similar to dismantling the stronghold block by block. Healing addictions and overcoming sinful patterns and negative thinking is possible as we accept the truth and renounce the lies. Break free from addiction by accepting the power over addiction that is available through faith in the Word of God.
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