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Overcoming addiction and unhealthy coping mechanisms is a difficult task. While recovery can help each person better understand the unique way addiction has affected their lives, it is also important to be constantly vigilant and employ self-checks to ensure that one addiction or unhealthy coping strategy isn’t being replaced by another in the same vein. It can be very easy to find a replacement in addiction, so constant moderation of oneself is necessary while each person establishes their new “normal” outside of any addictive substances or behaviors.

What Is Replacement?

Replacement is a substitution of one addiction for another. Through addiction recovery, even if a person has successfully stopped their use of one particular substance, they may still want to fill that newfound gap with another addictive substance or behavior that can give them a similar feeling, or easily release dopamine. Those who suffer from an addiction to heroin, for example, may successfully cease their use of the drug, only to begin drinking alcohol at unhealthy levels. 

However, the practice of replacement can stretch far beyond finding a new drug or drink. It is possible to replace one’s addiction with just about anything — gambling, sugar, food, or shopping can all provide someone with their desired effects. However, this can lead to many similar issues to one’s initial addiction and can have social and financial detriments. 

Importance of Moderation

Moderating all aspects of one’s life is important in this regard. Replacement can create an over-reliance on a single outlet for a person but ultimately may not address the social, professional, or financial issues that were created in the first place. Even if a person finds a strategy that works well for them, such as allowing oneself to go on a shopping spree if they reach a certain milestone, it is important that these things are still moderated so they continue to feel special, and not create an overreliance on just one coping outlet. 

Moderating allows rewards to continue to feel like celebratory achievement and ensures their effectiveness, all while giving each person the time to explore all of the possible avenues for recovery, including new hobbies and social groups, in order to create a new “normal” that isn’t reliant on one single element. It allows each person to engage in a number of new aspects in order to completely flesh out their interests and identity in their newfound sobriety. 

Moderating your use of coping strategies to avoid replacement in addiction requires a great deal of self-awareness. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction as a result of your own traumatic experiences, The Guest House can help you learn the skills you need to moderate yourself and the feeling of agency that comes with it. Your time with us is personalized to address your unique experience and create a recovery plan that includes strategies and approaches that are pertinent to your interests and goals. For more information on how we can create an approach for your specific struggles, or to talk to a caring professional about any concerns you may have about yourself or a loved one, call us today at (855) 483-7800.