Dealing with our addictions means confronting all of our unhealthy behaviors, all of the ways in which our addictions have impacted us. Many of us living with addictions have unhealthy relationships with other normal behaviors in our lives, such as eating and sex, things that we don’t necessarily want to quit or abstain from forever because they are a natural part of life. Recovery from our addictions means learning how to have healthier relationships with these things so that we can stop engaging in them in unhealthy and addictive ways.
Many of us identify as having more than one addiction, and we can find that they include overeating or binge eating, love/sex addiction, and other compulsive ways of handling behaviors and activities that are a regular part of our daily lives. In order to find a healthy balance with these things, we have to address the emotional issues that are underlying all of our addictions, because they tend to be related regardless of the object of our addiction.
Do you overeat because of anxiety about work? Do you binge eat because you’re depressed about your family relationships? Do you have compulsive sex that makes you unhappy because deep down you feel undeserving of a fulfilling relationship? Do you use unhealthy relationships to avoid looking at your other problems? Look at the emotions that are driving your compulsive behaviors. These emotions are clues to your addictions and also can provide the answers to how to heal them.
Addressing our underlying issues and working to heal them at the root can help us stop our compulsive patterns. Sometimes we need healthy distance from our triggers in order to do this emotional work. Many of us choose to abstain from dating and relationships, for example, because it’s harder to gain clarity on the reasons why we’re perpetuating these patterns while we’re still actively in them. It can require time and emotional space to address these things, and sometimes it’s healthiest for us to abstain for awhile. This doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to have a relationship. It simply means we’re giving ourselves the time we need to find a healthier balance with the things we once were compulsively driven by.
As we do the emotional work, we can begin to define what healthy balance looks like for us with these things. Stopping eating when we’re full is one example. Choosing relationships based on compatibility rather than compulsive neediness is another. Finding healthy balance with the natural parts of our lives that we once abused is an important part of recovery.
Recovering from our addictions means taking inventory of all our unhealthy behaviors. We can help. Call (800) 871-5440.