While those in recovery will expect to feel the odd craving for the substance to which they were once addicted, it is also quite common to experience compulsions for other things. Many addicts will experience a range of compulsions and unless they are prepared for them, they will be in danger of acting on them without actually thinking about the consequences.
It would not be strange for a recovering addict to wake up one morning and suddenly experience a compulsion to get a new puppy. He or she is convinced that this is what they need to make them feel better, and so instantly get up and begin searching for nearby breeders selling a specific pup. If they are not careful, they could be driving home with a German Shepherd pup in the back of the car before the day is out.
It is imperative to think carefully about any random compulsions before acting on them. Take time to reflect on whether this is something that you really want or need. In most cases, if you stop to think and give yourself a few days, you will find that the idea begins to wear off. In fact, if you think about it, you will probably find that a pup may not be the right thing at the moment, especially if you need to focus on your recovery.
If you are such a person and find that this compulsion continues after a few days, then sit down and do some research. Think about what getting a puppy (for example) will mean for you. Consider all the costs and time involved and decide very carefully about whether this is a good decision. By waiting at least two weeks, you will know if this compulsion was caused by the addictive side of your personality or whether it is something you do want.
Now that you are no longer drinking or taking drugs, you have found that you are becoming obsessed with something else. It could be sex, shopping, chocolate, or the internet. You find that this item or activity consumes your every waking moment. When you are not indulging, you are thinking about indulging, to the point where it is interfering with your normal life.
If this is the case, you need to stop and take a good look at your behaviour as you are in danger of replacing one addiction with another. Consider talking to your counsellor or sponsor about your compulsive behaviour and deal with it in the same way that you have learned to deal with your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
There are a number of activities that could be hazardous to your wellbeing, such as gambling, violent behaviour, food bingeing, or food restriction. If you find that you are suffering from dangerous compulsions, it is time to get professional help immediately. Call your sponsor or counsellor and find a 12-step programme designed to tackle possible new addictions.
You can also call us here at Rehab Helper if you are worried about a dangerous compulsion. We have a team of people on hand waiting to hear from you. Our counsellors and therapists have experience in dealing with all types of addiction and can offer expert advice on where to get the treatment you need before your life begins to spiral out of control once more. Call today for more information on how we can help.