Trading addictions

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Our local newspaper has been running a series on addiction and today's article was about trading one addiction for another. It's a very good article and if anyone would like to read it you can google this: Addicts in recovery may be at risk for another addiction.

    I know Kathy and I have had discussions before about why a drug addict cannot drink alcohol and vice versa. This article explains that very well. For me it just points again more clearly how difficult it is to recover from addiction and why it is a lifelong battle.

    Just an asside, Sunday's article showcased several people from our area, faces of addiction, and told their stories. One was my difficult child's addiction counselor when she was in rehab. The point was they look like normal people, not what some may think adicts would look like.

  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Interesting article. I dont know if this is true of anyone elses difficult child but my difficult child has always had very compulsive addictive type behaviors. As a little boy I would do reasonable limits on sweets (but he was allowed some every day and I did not control food otherwise) and I would go into his room and find wrappers and wrappers of stuff he had taken under his bed, or downstairs. Sometimes things were half eaten. It was kind of bizarre... and it drove me nuts, the combination of lying and taking and hiding food like this and then leaving it around. He has never had a weight problem though... tends Occupational Therapist (OT) be on the thin side. And when he first got his cell phone the text message went crazy and he would stay up all night texting etc.... until of course we put a limit on the phone. Same thing with the computer etc. So I think his tendancy towards addictive behavior has always been there but was manageable by parenting until he got into drugs. So yeah he is at risk for other addictions definitely. Sigh kind of depressing really.

  3. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    As you know, I did read the Sunday article. I thought it was beautifully written. My heart goes out to those people and I thought they were very courageous to go public like that.

    I only get the PD on Sundays and Wednesdays, so I will have to read it online. Thanks for the reminder. I had every intention of going out and buying a paper yesterday and today but ... well, some good intentions just don't get realized!

  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I don't want to stir up any controversy - but trading one addiction for another is what I wondered about when we had a new poster on the Substance Abuse forum over the weekend...

    Is there truly a benefit from substituting one addictive substance for another? Even if the new addiction is "legal" or at least, more socially acceptable than the other?
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Not all addictive substitutions are substances. One can go from substance abuse to, say, problem gambling - and it's still an addiction, and just as damaging.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Well I also think there are some "healthier" addictions. Exercise for example... now of course even that can be taken too far.... but I would be very happy if my difficult child got addicted to exercise. :) Oh I would be happy if I could get addicted to it too..... I am a little tongue in cheek about it but my husband needs to have his exercise every day but it is healthy....

    And I think that is the thing with AA too..... I think some addicts almost get addicted to a program like AA and going to meetings because a healthier substitute.

  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Great article. And, yes, there are many kinds of addictions. I have a friend who is addicted to exercise. She also has a compulsive self-harming disorder and exercise is one of her coping mechanisms. I wish I could become addicted to exercise! But, seriously, my difficult child showed addictive behavior tendancies from a very early age. Like TL, I found all sorts of food wrappers and food hidden in her room. Also, like TL, I restricted sweets only reasonably (and only because I had to!) and did not restrict food. She still does this - at 21.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I think that depends a lot about substances. I'm very pragmatic with this (that may be one big philosophical difference why I'm not fan of twelve steps.) For me it is about functioning. I don't see addictions as a moral dilemma but like other health conditions. If heroin addict takes their maintenance drugs (that are physically addictive) and are functioning members of society, not high, not causing troubles, I simply don't see it any worse problem than a friend of mine with fibromyalgia taking Lyrica (and being physically addicted to that) or people using some other physically addictive medication for some health issue. I simply don't see how not using medications would be some kind of moral victory and better way, when medications can make someone's quality of life better without too bad side effects. In fact I at times think it is almost morally wrong to not use medications you need and be non-functioning because of that. I think it is very frustrating when for example people with schizophrenia or bipolar are not taking their medications (some physically addictive) and are not well functioning because of that. To me there is no moral victory on being medication-free bipolar or addict. Of course it is nice if person doesn't need them, because medications often have also their cons, but not to take medications just because some moral stance and being non-functioning because of that is maddening.

    But yes, it is well known fact, that people tend to trade addictions. And if you get lucky, the traded one can be less harmful. Trading drugs to religion (or I should probably say that trading them to certain type of religious behaviour that is very close to addiction), alcohol to compulsive exercising or work addiction can certainly make quality of life better. Then again trading drugs to alcohol not so much.

    problem of course is, that there are lots of things that can turn to addiction and you can not abstinent of all of them. It is easy to say to drug addict that they should not drink. But they do have to eat, work etc. and if their impulse control issues, issues addict uses addiction to handle and other problems with addictive behaviour are not treated, it is likely addictive behaviour just changes it's focus. And of course hopefully to the less harmful addiction.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I agree to a point. I certainly think issues should be treated, and for example I have no problem with my difficult child taking antidepressants... he probably needs them and unfortunately has not really given them a proper chance because of his other drug use. I dont have a problem with a heroin addict using something like suboxone..... and I can imagine certain people who may at some point drink too much but then can slow down and drink responsibly... and I also see your point in another thread about it kind of being a process and even though there may be relapses progress is being made along the way.

    However with my difficult children pattern of behavior and history I doubt he can ever use substances in a responsible way. He keeps thinking he can (I think) and may start off relapsing by using it socially but it fairly quickly becomes a huge problem.... and he has and is willing to try anything to get high....and he takes all kinds of stupid risks with huge consequences to get high. I think his biggest problem with AA is the idea that he wont ever be able to drink socially or moderately... and yet the other precept of AA is one day at a time. The focus is always on not drinking today.... and not focusing on forever. I understand his issue with AA and the idea that he really has to abstain to be successful... I can see why that feels so hard for him.... but I also think for him it is a reality.

  10. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    This is probably true. And I think it may depend a lot about person and how they ended up addicts. For example my granddad used a lot of amphetamine during the WW 2. He was physically addicted and enjoyed it. he also used heroin at the time (not injected though, I think it was eaten as tablets.) He also used both at times recreationally after the war. But maybe because not having addictive personality or physical vulnerability to substance addiction he didn't have too difficult time quitting. He also was your average social drinker rest of his life. He may have drunk a lot at times, but always had a control over it. So I can imagine there may be for example drug addicts out there, who can drink. Also my gambling addict son doesn't seem to have problem with alcohol. He does drink but very moderately and I have never seen any addictive behaviour with alcohol on him. Of course it helps that he has very low physical tolerance for alcohol. He can only drink few beers before feeling sick so he is not too tempted to drink more than one or two at a time.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    IME - I don't think that people who have bipolar or schizophrenia stop taking their medications out of some sort of societal pressure to be medication free. It's much deeper than that. Sometimes, they get their issues under control with the help of medications and think that they are feeling good so it's time to stop the medications. Others have a hard time with feeling "dulled" by the medication. Especially the loss of libido and energy. It's a cycle. In the US, there is very little moral stigma associated with psychiatric drugs. Perhaps it's different in the UK.

    From the data I read, it appears that Subox is most successful when used in conjunction with a support group style recovery program. It appears the protocol has evolved into a combined treatment style based upon success rates.

    In the US - where drug screening of job applicants and athletes is the norm - it may be that using a maintenance drug for addiction carries a stigma or disqualification and a former addict may want to be completely substance free.
  12. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I definitely have pressure on me to be "medication-free".
    My husband has said to me several times over the past 5 yrs that I am no longer the "vibrant woman that he married". It really gets to me. Now I don't like having to take the Abilify...but I WILL NEVER have a psychotic breakdown again if I can help it! Yes, the medications are terribly expensive and I have a HUGE LACK OF ENERGY. But I am not emotionally on the brink of suicide once a month or so intense that logic makes no sense. I like the way I feel now...I feel "normal".
    Sadly, even my easy child daughter is not so happy about mom being on medications either. And my oldest difficult child is just plain afraid of mental illness. I guess they all were used to my extremes and liked it??? Go figure. I certainly was more driven once upon a time and alot more "help to everyone"...but at WHAT PRICE???

    In regards to trading addictions...Oh ya, I can see where it's true. No drinking...then non stop on CD Board, lol. No drinking...then I'm at the casino. Though, husband only gives me what we are willing to risk when I go to the casino and I do not take credit cards or a check I only have what I take with me. It's "controlled behavior by outside forces" if you will.

    I also used to be a perfectionist. And I mean mint perfect! Our house stayed in "ready to sell" condition 24/7 for yrs as I was a compulsive cleaner/decorator. I am no longer compelled in this way due to Abilify now, ttL.

  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Oh, LMS - I am so sorry to read that. Stay strong, do what's best for you. {{{hugs}}}
  14. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Did I mention I've also gained 50 POUNDS since I started taking the medications for Bipolar Disorder.
    Ain't life fun! I used to be alittle bitty thing...dang I DO miss that!!! smile.

    Thank you for the hug Sig, it's okay.
    Hugs back,
  15. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I think you are awesome LMS. I wish we could all have lunch and trade war stories. I have a feeling that lunch would turn into dinner and at 9pm our H's would be texting us "where are you?" and when we finally got home, our sides would be aching from laughing and our hearts would be joyful.
  16. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    So true, Sig.

    I actually have been to a couple of "get-to-gethers" with fellow CD board members. All wonderful people in real life too! The previous board owner, Fran, actually took me out to lunch once upon a time when I was going through an ordeal with my husband and she comforted me.
    And then Fran had a dinner at her house for many of us...I got to meet EstherfromJerusalem then...she is just the sweetest, kindest, lady.

    I've also had a board member spend a few days at my home...boy did she get an eyefull, lol. But she did like my difficult child's. And she too is wonderful.

    And more recently...I got reaquointed with a CD Board member and she and I occasionally sneak off to the casino! lol

    There are ALOT of terrific people here.
    Don't know how I would have survived without all of you to help prop me up and teach me along the way.
    Love you guys!!!
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    One of the things that really struck me inthis article was what happens when an alcoholic who has been sober for 20 years then takes an opiate for a dental procedure and the same feeling of euphoria they had 20 years ago comes back and they become and they can't stop. For me this is the reason an addict will always be in recovery. I was also struck by the description of thr unpleasant feeling most people have taking an opiate but for an addict from the very first time they fall in love with that feeling. I witnessed that first hand after my surgery and I couldn't take the pain medications the surgeon prescibed. It made me dizzy and nauseaus and felt like I was not in control of my body. I hated it so much I threw them down the toilet and took advil even though the pain was severe. Shortly after that difficult child was over and I was telling her how badly it hurt and she said "didn't the doctor give you any pain pills?" When I told her yes and how they made me feel she just looked at me like I had two heads like how could I possibly feel that way.

    TL you described my difficult child perfectly. I did not put all this together at the time but she too was addicted to food, sugary treats, the computer, texting, boys, and then sex and alochol and drugs. I often said my difficult child was an alcoholic long before she took her first drink. As she got older the substances got more dangerous. I really want to have hope but in all honestly all this makes me feel very hopeless for her.

    LMS I give you so much credit for recognizing and managing your demons so well.

  18. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I feel I have a food addiction and I also tend to be compulsive about certain things so there is that element of addictive behavior in me... however I don't drink much and never have.... if I get a bit tipsy then that is both unusual and enough for me. I have a very natural stopping point which I don't really have with food. And I broke my back years ago and took vicodin for pain. I really didnt have any feeling of euphoria... it helped the pain but didnt do much else for me. As soon as I didnt need them anymore I was done with them. I did experiement with drugs as a teen (eons ago) but again never really got into it, it was totally a social thing for me. So I really have no fear about my ever getting addicted to alcohol or drugs. However I can be compulsive about computer games.... and I could see myself getting addicted to gambling except that I am too practical to risk too much money. LOL... whenever I have been in a gambling situation I have an amount I am willing to lose and then I quit. The food issues however have been life long and continue to be a struggle.

    And I would love a CD get together!!! That would be fun. I have gotten to know one member, who isnt on much, because it turned out we live near each other.... and we have become good friends. I consider you all friends and it would be great to meet you in RL.

  19. 92025

    92025 Member

    Food issues are very tricky; i was bulimic on and off for YEARS.
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    LMS... I think you should be talking to your psychiatrist again... not to get rid the medication that is helping you, but to see whether there is something they could add that gives you some "edge" back. We have had to do that for various medications and their side-effects. Might be worth asking? (or maybe you already have...)