Many people who have battled drug and/or alcohol addiction in their lives find that at some point they struggle with using other things in an addictive way. This is process addiction. Process addiction can be anything from gambling excessively to excessive playing of video games, to being unable to put our phones down. This can be incredibly frustrating. I’ve often had clients come into my office and say “I don’t get it! I worked so hard not to use substance X and now I can’t stop doing this other behavior. Why is this happening? Am I ever going to not struggle with something”?
This is essentially where the notion of “addictive personality” comes from. Unfortunately, it is true that people who struggle with addiction to substances are more likely to struggle with other addictive behaviors. So, what can we do to help prevent ourselves from using other things addictively? Awareness really is key. If we are aware of our behaviors, we will be more likely to recognize these things earlier on, and because of this, be able to more easily address them.
The other thing that tends to be helpful is having a variety of healthy coping skills. If playing a video game is someone’s only way to cope aside from drugs and alcohol they are going to be incredibly likely to play to excess, if there are multiple things they can do that are helpful, they will be less likely to do so. Developing these needed coping skills can be difficult but is incredibly important!
Questions about process addiction or anything else drug and alcohol/sobriety related? Feel free to get in touch!