Why Many of Us Trade One High For Another - Page 2

By Emily McCombs 04/10/11

Yes, you finally put down the bottle, but now you find yourself craving cupcakes or crazy Internet sex or countless pairs of Christian Louboutins. Addictive tendencies are often transferred from one bad habit to another. Here's what you can do about it.

 
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What "sobriety" can sometimes look like Thinkstock

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Not according to Dr. Urschel, who says that the key to avoiding addiction transfer is treating the disease comprehensively. “The 12-step model is a very important component of treatment, but is not sufficient to treat the illness any more than a support group to help you not eat sugar would be sufficient to treat diabetes,” he says. In addition to a 12-step group, he suggests a psychiatric assessment in case there are any coexisting disorders like depression, or bipolar or panic disorder, as well as anti-addiction medications like Vivitrol, family therapy, good nutrition and exercise.

Evelyn has sought therapy for her outside issues, and says her workaholism gets a “lot of airtime.” But she has been able to apply some of the principles she learned in A.A., such as self-acceptance and staying in the moment, to work on her other addictions. She also relies on the support she receives  from fellow members of her meetings and participates in an email journal with other recovering women. “I had this false expectation that everything was going to be fixed because I stopped drinking,” she says. “I found that wasn’t the case—I have to really apply the tools I’ve learned from my alcohol recovery to these issues as well.”

Alison, too, has been able to use the tools she learned after putting down the booze to help deal with her other issues. “It’s difficult to focus on more than one addiction at once, but getting sober gave me the room to tackle my other problems,” she says. “If I’m sober and not binging or purging or restricting, then I can deal with my next problem. And hopefully the next one and the next one after that.”

Emily McCombs is the Managing Editor of JanePratt.com. Before that, she was the managing editor of the men's site Asylum.com, where she created and starred in a weekly web series "A Woman's Perspective." Her writing has appeared in BUST, Elle, Marie Claire, Nerve.com and TheFrisky.com. She is in need of at least five different recovery programs, but has been free from drugs and alcohol for two years.

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