Drugs and Alcohol Aren’t The Only Destructive Behaviors

image03-2 Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

A common misconception held by many people is that the crux of drug addiction and alcoholism is the abuse of substances. The belief is that once the drugs or alcohol are removed then the problem goes away. If you’ve been sober for any period of time you know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Drinking and drugging are but a symptom of these illnesses and for a time they are both symptom and solution. I had no idea how easily I would replace one addiction with another that is not to say that I took it the same level that I did with drinking and drugging.

I don’t mean to downplay the destructiveness of excessively drinking and drugging because without the swift punishment that they served up I’m not sure if I would have ever gotten sober, but what I discovered once I got sober is that the problem ran far deeper than I could have ever imagined.

I found that I engaged in a plethora of destructive behaviors that had nothing to do with alcohol or drugs and yet had everything to do with my addiction. This was probably one of the most startling things that I learned in early sobriety, that there was in fact a lot about myself that had to change. I began to realize that those old timers weren’t kidding when they said the only thing I had to change about myself was everything.

First, and this didn’t come as much of a shock to me; I knew that I had to deal with my eating disorder. I am not alone as a woman in recovery that also has an eating disorder, but I knew that if I was going to have a chance at sobriety, I also had to get this aspect of my life under control. In the time that I have been sober, I have seen many women and a few men, plagued by this destructive behavior. Some have even wound up drinking again because they were unable to work through it.

My eating disorder for me was of paramount importance. It is where I first began to self-destruct and I believe that it resides in the same place in my psyche as my addiction. So this was one destructive behavior that I had to deal with in order for my sobriety to be meaningful.

Once I was able to get the drugs and alcohol out my system and my eating was stabilized I then noticed that my addiction began to express itself in other aspects of my life. This is something that every other person that I have met in sobriety has experienced as well. The drink or drug is removed and their addiction begins to express itself in other ways. For some, this may mean that they cannot be alone. They may bounce from relationship to relationship clinging on to the first person that they find in order to not feel that loneliness creep in. Others may throw themselves into their work at the expense of relationships and their recovery. Still, others may spend their money unwisely and ruin themselves financially. Pretty much any destructive behavior that you could think of can be found in sobriety as well, but the difference is that in sobriety we often have a chance to change.

Sobriety is all about self-discovery and often times this self-discovery leads to the unearthing of destructive behaviors that we may not have known were destructive, to begin with. As the saying goes, the road narrows the longer you stay sober. This has been the case for me and I recently discovered my engaging in justified anger that was no longer healthy for me. This may sound fairly innocuous, but the longer I’ve stayed sober, the more destructive its become. The majority of this anger is focused towards my ex-husband, whom I have two children with. I’m not going to lie at first it was nice to revel in my anger. It didn’t feel destructive at all and it actually made me feel powerful. It fed something in me at that time I guess I needed to fill, but the problem is that in time it began to consume me. I have found that participating in this destructive behavior is actually starting to adversely affect my life and with each venomous word that I say about him, joy and peace leave me. Coming to realize this I now know that I have to try to change, and so the process of letting go begins again.

One of the more destructive behaviors that I have seen people engage in during my time in recovery is gambling. This is not really surprising as there is an entire 12 Step program devoted to gambling, but what did surprise me is how many people I knew that started to have problems with gambling once they got sober. Many of these people didn’t really gamble during their active addictions and like many other compulsive behaviors it started out fairly innocently. Over time though the gambling got worse and I have known a few people who have actually drank, at least partly because of acting out in this way. I’m not saying that gambling was the reason they drank, but what I have learned is that failure to at least trying to change behaviors that are bad for us is a great way to block out our spiritual connection, which for an alcoholic or addict is never a good thing.

I wrote down in one of my books fairly early on, “If you don’t walk through the fire, the fire eventually comes to you.” Partially the philosophical musings of someone newly sober, but this idea still holds weight with me today. If I have learned anything in my time in sobriety it is that I must at the very least be willing to look at myself and try to grow into being a better person. When I start to say I will not change this, or willfully ignore the facts in front me, I am setting myself up for failure, and for me, failure is to drink and drug again.

2 Comments

  1. Sheryl on August 26, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I am coming ro realize the same. Always a heavy child, ok obese, my parents harped on this condition regularly. Id lose weight only to put it back on and then some. The lowest weight I achieved wss during my addiction. A normal weight for some but my eyes saw a walking, talking skeleton at 120lbs. Now sober 10 years my weight is back. Im busy, content with my sober life but coming to realize my emotional triggers to eat. A new journey of exploration begins. Thank you for your post as it was revealing.

    • Beverly Sartain on August 27, 2016 at 12:15 am

      Great share Sheryl. I love that you can be content right now yet still be open to exploration of being the best version of you.

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