I’m the type of person who gets addicted to things easily. I have a little joke with myself that I’ll get addicted to anything or anyone that will slow down long enough for me to get a good look at it. My problem is, when something or someone makes me feel good, my immediate reaction is to want that someone or something ALL of the time. More is better, right? For the most part: wrong! I’ve learned that moderation is KEY for serenity in sobriety.
When I first got sober when I was eighteen, I was halfway through my first year of university. When I quit drinking and using, it was like all the other parts of my life exploded to ten times their normal size. I ate twice the amount of food I used to, binge-watched TV episodes on Netflix, upped my consumption to a pack of cigarettes a day, started running three miles every morning and was constantly out being social. I wouldn’t let myself have even a little downtime. Everything I did, I overdid.
I did stay sober, but I believe I could have had an easier and more fun time if I had stopped overdoing my basic needs and made myself sit down and do some work on the 12 Steps. But I didn’t want to face the emotions that were beginning to broil to the surface, and stuffing my life full of “doing” kept those fears at bay.
However, I do believe that becoming obsessive over all those other things helped me to stay clean. It was the best I could do at the time, until I was able to face my inner world instead of eating two Chipotle burritos. But I don’t believe there is anything like a “healthy” addiction.
In particular I noticed that when I got clean, my addiction to people seemed to take over my life even more. I had never before realized how stressed out I got over others until I couldn’t drink over it anymore. I became constantly obsessed with what people were thinking about me and saying about me, and whether they liked me or not. I really traded alcohol for people, and other peoples’ positive opinions of me became my safety net instead of drinking and drugs.
But the thing is, people are a lot more unpredictable than a bottle of vodka. They cannot be controlled, and this created a lot of suffering in my early sobriety, especially in the arena of dating and men. A part of me seemed to shut off, and having casual sex and “friends with benefits” arrangements happened often. That became my main way of shutting off my mind and emotions. I believe those are called “a walking drink” in the program.
While I learned a lot of lessons during that time period, it was also very dangerous and rather sad. I was extremely lucky to come out mostly unscathed, but I definitely had some emotional healing to do. Six months of obsessing and going overboard in all the areas of my life except using took a toll on me emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically.
So after my initial six months of sobriety, I settled into a set daily routine. I abstained from dating and sex, I ate healthy meals three times a day, I worked, and I learned to relax and play again.
It can be easy to think that excitement and craziness and wildness and unpredictability brings happiness, but what is brings is a high, and with every high there MUST come a low. But for me, slowing down and finding the middle ground in every aspect of my life brought me feelings of fulfillment, safety, purposefulness, joy, and true peace that filled my heart.
Like I said before, moderation is key. There is no “healthy” addiction in my opinion because giving in to any addiction will keep you bouncing back and forth between giving in and then trying to control it again.
Staying in the middle in all areas of life is where true joy and peace resides. As long as we do our best to stay stable, we will have more clarity and a stronger feeling of safety. This will make us of maximum service to others!
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.