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4 Common Cross Addictions as an Alumnus

Addiction is one of the hardest things to overcome in life. When you have learned how to live without your substance of choice, you may have been tempted to replace it with another substance. This is the definition of cross addiction. You may not even recognize what is happening. Perhaps you will make excuses or say things like, “That is not my drug of choice.” It can be easy to find yourself in the cycle of cross addictions without even knowing.

This blog post will delve into what cross addiction is, explore common cross addictions, and discuss how The Guest House can guide you to helpful programs for alumni.

What Exactly Are Cross Addictions?

Simply put, cross addictions happen when you transfer your chosen addiction to a different entity. A cross-addiction is a replacement for a former primary addiction. For example, if you struggle with substance use disorder (SUD), then you may develop an addiction to food as a replacement.

However, cross addictions are a bit more complex than SUD. These addictions tend to be about the behavior of the person and the thought processes. When cross addictions happen, it means that the underlying root of SUD has not been resolved and the addicted person is still attempting to fill a void.

Why Does This Happen in Recovery?

In early recovery, you may feel excited by the newness of experiencing things for the first time sober. Because of this, it tends to be hard to “unpack” previous trauma or discuss areas you struggle with.

Humans, in general, like to avoid what’s uncomfortable, and most likely you are no different. At the same time, you have already acknowledged many vulnerable areas during recovery. However, that is not where recovery ends. Ideally, you are working on yourself daily and always striving to be the best version of yourself. Sometimes the journey can be tiring, and you may feel like you are alone in it. If so, this may be a good time for you to seek an individual therapist to help guide you to a better place.

Cross addictions can occur when stress is present and you feel overwhelmed. It is easy to avoid overwhelming situations and instead start a bad habit. For example, you may have stressful relationship issues coming up. Because of that, you start going to the casino. Before you know it, you are spending most of your money in hopes of winning big. In this example, not only is there another addiction present but you are avoiding the stress of being at home.

Common Cross Addictions in Recovery

There are many cross addictions you can have. However, these are the three most common ones in recovery:

#1. Food

It is no secret that most people gain several pounds when they are initially in recovery. People often turn to sugary, salty, or fatty foods during recovery. This can feel good as it releases the same dopamine rush, on a much smaller scale, as the former drug of choice. If you think you are falling prey to this, it is important to recognize your behavior and what you are eating. Some questions you may want to ask yourself can include, “What am I avoiding?” or “Is there an emotion inside of me I don’t want to recognize?”

By asking yourself these questions, you are creating awareness of your emotions. Cross addictions can sneakily present themselves. You will want to be prepared with healthy coping skills and reach out to your support system.

#2. Sex

It is easy to be consumed with unhealthy emotional attachments or physical releases, especially in early recovery. Physical intimacy is a natural part of life. Yet, sexual activity can quickly turn into compulsive behavior.

Recognizing your relationship patterns, how you connect, and why you’re seeking connection is important. An alumni program can provide the support you need to overcome cross addictions like turning to sexual activity as a way to feel good and avoid emotions.

# 3. Retail Therapy

Shopping is something every human needs to do. However, compulsive shopping is when you constantly buy things you do not need. Retail therapy can cause loads of issues both financially and emotionally. People who utilize retail therapy as a coping skill find themselves with a rush of emotion as they make the purchase. However, this can cause financial devastation.

Purchasing things is a temporary fix for a permanent problem. No item can permanently ease your emotional turmoil. However, you can find support for this tendency at The Guest House.

#4. Gambling

When thinking of the word gambling, often the thought of sitting at a casino table comes to mind. Yet, gambling is more than that. It is not just restricted to playing cards, slot machines, or betting on horses. Gambling can be playing the lottery, scratching off tickets, entering a raffle, or making a bet with another person.

As a cross addiction, gambling is about the emotional high a person receives when engaging in that behavior. The gambler engages in risky behavior to experience the emotional high to anticipate a possible winning. A sense of danger and financial instability can be equivalent to the quest to actively seek illicit substances.

If you find yourself struggling with gambling, The Guest House has qualified professionals to assist you.

Support at The Guest House for Cross Addictions

You may recognize that you have cross addictions. That does not mean that you are a bad person or did not get recovery “right.” It simply means that you are struggling and need extra help along the way. At The Guest House, we believe that recovery is not a destination but rather a journey. We are here to help you no matter what stage of your journey you are in. Our professionals are eager to help you along the path toward long-term health.

Cross addictions are not talked about a lot in the recovery realm. For this reason, you may have not known that cross addictions were occurring in your recovery. It is easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of activity and avoid how you feel. However, you can become more conscious of any cross addictions that have developed and reach out for help. All you have to do is give The Guest House a call and we will help you no matter where you are at in your recovery. We value who you are and where you want to go in your recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling in recovery, please give us a call at (855) 483-7800.