In order to build a successful sobriety, you need to add the right combination of activities to your new life. Your ability to find interesting things to do with your time is essential if you want to feel fulfilled and satisfied in recovery. There is a danger though that if you become too focused on one particular activity, it becomes an addiction substitute – although the behaviour might not be physically addictive, it can still have a disruptive influence on your life. The fact that you have become hooked on alcohol or drugs in the past suggests that you may have an addictive personality, so you need to be on the lookout for swapping one addiction for another. Below are six of the signs that this could be happening:
1. You Are Using this Activity as a Way to Escape Your Problems
One of the most common reasons why individuals develop an addiction substitute is that they are trying to hide from some challenge in their life. If there are issues that you should be dealing with but are engaging in this other activity instead, it can be a sign that you are running away – just as you did when engaging in alcohol or drug abuse. In this situation, the activity is acting as a distraction – for example, you may spend extra hours at work because you feel unhappy at home.
2. This Activity Has Become Your Main Focus
One of the keys to happiness is to have a good balance of activities in your life – it is best if it includes things that are mental, physical, spiritual, and creative. If you put too much focus on one activity, it means that your life is becoming unbalanced and that it has become an addiction substitute. It is great to have passions, but it is not so good if your passions are limited to one pursuit.
3. You Have Allowed this Activity to Get in the Way of Your Sobriety
One of the most obvious signs that you have developed an addiction substitute is that you are now putting this activity before your sobriety. For example – you skip recovery fellowship meetings because you want to spend more time with/doing this activity. In order for you to stay sober long-term, you need to make sobriety your number one priority – do not allow anything else to get in the way of it.
4. Family or Friends Have Expressed Concern about the Time You Devote to this Activity
If family and friends are starting to make remarks about the amount of time you devote to an activity, it is another warning sign that you could be in trouble. If you dismiss these concerns as just ‘nagging’, you may be developing denial – if you get defensive when people question the amount time you devote to an activity, this could also be a type of denial.
5. You Are Starting to Feel Guilty About this Activity
If something makes you feel guilty, this is usually a sign that you should not be doing it – or at least not doing it so much. People seem to have an in-built alarm system that lets them know when they are going off-course, which can be experienced in the form of guilt. If you suspect that something you are doing has become an addiction substitute, it probably has.
6. You Have Attempted to Hide the Extent You Engage in This Activity
If you feel the need to hide how much you engage in an activity, it is usually a sure sign that you are developing an addiction substitution. If something were not harming you, why would you feel the need to hide it? You will probably be able to come up with justifications for why you are hiding the behaviour, but you need to be honest with yourself here.