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Learning About Process Addictions

The addictions we’re most familiar with involve drugs and alcohol, but many of us are living with addictions that are sometimes referred to as process addictions or behavioral addictions. Sometimes these process addictions are co-occurring alongside a substance dependence, sometimes not. We can find our lives becoming completely dominated by these addictions just as they can be with drugs and alcohol. We can start revolving our lives around these addictions. We can devote a disproportionate amount of time and energy to the processes or behaviors that we’ve become addicted to, hyper-focused on, and obsessed with. We can find ourselves being totally driven by our addictive process, and it becomes an unhealthy and detrimental part of our lives.

Process addictions can be centered around any addictive behavior or activity, with eating, sex, gambling and gaming being among the more common ones that people become addicted to. We might binge eat, eating well past the point of fullness and causing ourselves physical pain and discomfort, even creating eating disorders and other issues with our physical health. We can compulsively have sex and engage in relationships we’re unhappy with, out of an unhealthy neediness for attention, validation, reassurance or companionship. We can form toxic attachments with people we come to feel addicted to. We can feel that we need relationships or sex in order to complete and fulfill us. We might gamble excessively, to our own financial and emotional detriment. We might become so preoccupied with gaming that we neglect the other important activities, and people, in our lives.

These addictions are referred to as process addictions, because we become attached and addicted to the process itself as well as to the mental, emotional and physical gratification we receive whenever we engage in that process. Our bodies produce feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, and the adrenaline of exhilaration and excitement, that we become dependent upon for our feelings of happiness and well-being. Without them, we feel sad and incomplete. We don’t feel capable of giving up our addictions, and we feel powerless against the force and weight of them. They can start to dominate our thinking, our behaviors, our choices, and our routines. They can become the primary focus of our daily lives. We can become so consumed with them that we start to neglect everything else that matters to us, causing us to seek solace in our addictions and creating never-ending cycles of neediness and temporary gratification. We learn that the happiness we think we’re receiving from these addictions is usually not meaningful, lasting or fulfilling. We end up feeling even more depressed, even more anxious, even more incomplete, unsatisfied, regretful and unfulfilled.

Healing from addiction is totally possible, and learning about these lesser-known process addictions is an important part of our recovery.

At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.