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What is Cross Addiction?

The world seems full of things to which we can become addicted, and many of us have first-hand experience of being addicted to not one, but multiple extra-curricular activities. When you think of addiction, drugs and alcohol may first come to mind, but not all addictions are substances. Things such as exercise, sex, shopping, and gambling are issues that many addicts and alcoholics in recovery have an elevated risk of developing after getting sober.

Individuals who are new to recovery need to be especially cognizant of developing a cross addiction. Once the chemicals have left your body, you may begin replacing them with something that is seemingly harmless at first. For instance, you may begin to crave the endorphins from working out, and you start hitting the gym several times a day. If you miss a workout, you feel lousy, and that’s all you can think about. As you can imagine, this type of thinking and lifestyle can become unhealthy and even dangerous to our recovery.

Some people may develop a shopping or gambling addiction. These can cause serious financial and relationship problems, and can also threaten our sobriety. Others may even begin abusing something that wasn’t their drug of choice by rationalizing it as such. If your drug of choice was alcohol, don’t assume that you won’t become addicted to the anxiety prescription your doctor (who doesn’t know you’re in recovery because you failed to tell her) just wrote. Ultimately, our minds will trick us into going back to the same addictive behavior that brought us to recovery in the first place.

To some degree, the once-addicted brain will always crave the elevated levels of dopamine to which it was once accustomed. In order for our sobriety to remain intact, we have to be vigilant. Learning how to moderate is a difficult hurdle for addicts and alcoholics. If you like to shop, set limits. If gambling is your thing, try sticking to a football pool instead of frequent trips to the casino. Tell your doctor that you are in recovery. There are a lot of ways we can protect ourselves from cross addiction, but we have to be willing to take those extra steps. If you need help with your addiction, give us a call. Your recovery can begin today.

The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401