It is not uncommon for a person who is using drugs or alcohol to try to get clean by swapping one drug addiction for another. For example, a drinker may take up pot smoking or Xanax, or a heroin addict may take up drinking. While the addiction you are switching to may seem “better” or less harmful, it doesn’t mean that it is ok to do. When you are in recovery from any substance, it is important to learn how to live a sober lifestyle. In recovery, that means that you stay away from any and all mood-altering substances, from alcohol to weed and heroin and cocaine and everything in between.
Drug Addiction is Drug Addiction. Period.
In recovery, we have a word we use for people who don’t battle addiction, and that is “Normies”, aka normal people who can handle a beer or two now and then and don’t end up in treatment for it. When you are facing alcohol or drug addiction, it is important to recognize that the mold you are cut from is that of an addict. You are likely to struggle with addiction to any mood-altering substance you ingest, no matter how much you convince yourself that you can handle it.
You may have tried the tactic of swapping one addiction for another yourself. If you haven’t, trust us when we say it never ends well. Usually, what ends up happening is that a new addiction is born, and leads you right back to the original drug you were addicted to. You may even become addicted to both and use them simultaneously, which is especially dangerous. Mixing drugs is a huge no-no because it can easily lead to overdose and other complications.
Alcohol and drug addiction certainly happen over time, but it is also a result of bad habits and dependency. For example, you learn to cope with unpleasant feelings by using drugs or alcohol as a crutch. You may even be scared to stay sober and face things without the numbness of drugs and alcohol. Well, in treatment you are taught the opposite. You will be forced to make all of your feelings come to the surface, good or bad. When they do, you will be taught how to cope with them in healthy ways instead of reaching for drugs and alcohol, which is probably your body’s natural response at this point.
Relearning Healthy Habits to Conquer Addiction
It is important to get it out of your head that it might be ok for you to take a substance other than the one you were originally addicted to. It simply isn’t worth it to indulge in any mood altering substance, because whatever it may be can easily lead you right back to the worst of your addiction. If you put work into quitting your drug of choice, why throw it all away?
In treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, you will be taught a healthy way to cope with everything life throws your way. You will have time to practice with your peers, doctors, and therapists, and once treatment is done it is up to you to engage your new healthy habits in real life.
There are plenty of things you can do to achieve relaxation that won’t promote drug addiction. You can find a new exercise routine you enjoy or a hobby that keeps you occupied. It is important that you keep looking for one that really makes you engage in it and live in the present moment. Otherwise, it won’t hold your attention. You can also make a habit of eating healthy, because good food will make you feel better and stronger, which will help prevent you from relapsing. Also, there are many (legal) herbal supplements and remedies you can take to relax, like a cup of chamomile tea to relax or melatonin to help you sleep at night. Whatever you do, stay away from other mood-altering substances to protect your sobriety.