While all addictions may share the same root cause, they manifest differently from person-to-person. Some are addicted to alcohol, others to gambling, some to a particular drug and others to over-eating. In fact, most people who suffer with addiction usually also struggle with cross-addiction between several or more things, further exacerbating the problem. You see, addiction is a form of obsession. A person gets a chemical jolt in his brain from engaging in a certain behavior, and is then driven by that bolt of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin, again and again. I got my first taste of this on the front lines in business, ‘winning or losing’ daily, I really enjoyed the adrenaline rush of ‘winning deals’. It’s that sensation that drives addiction, and that’s part of the good news; not all addictions are necessarily bad for you. Yes, you read that correctly. Finding a healthy co-addiction can actually be a very productive way to re-direct your disease in a positive direction.
An addict’s biggest enemy is boredom; as they say ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. The obsession commandeers your inner voice to the point of blotting out all else. There’s a very good reason why many treatment centers and counselors help clients focus on hobbies and activities as part of the overall treatment. Whether it’s equine therapy, sculpting, crochet, Tai Chi, painting or just working out, the options are only limited by your interests and imagination. Lately, adult coloring books have been all the rage. The point is to find something that fulfills you, that keeps your attention in a meaningful way, to otherwise distract you from the negative addiction that drove you to seek treatment. In certain instances, many patients then become obsessed with this new activity, but that’s not necessarily a negative outcome. Ideally, of course, the goal is to re-train an addicted mind away from obsession altogether, but that’s not always an attainable goal. It’s therefore important to be realistic and, on occasion, even enable someone towards a healthy co-addiction, under the right set of circumstances.