Addiction is a process which becomes a way of living for men. Mistakenly, men often believe that their addiction exclusively includes their substance or substances of choice. Get rid of the substance, they think, get rid of the addiction. What men learn when they go through a treatment program like the one we offer at Tree House Recovery, is that addiction is complex. There is much more to addiction than a substance and a chemical dependency. Layers of life contribute to addiction, including genetics, social conditioning, environment, childhood, upbringing, trauma, and how all of those factors lead to a need which is served not only by an addictive substance, but the entirety of addiction itself- including the damaging, destructive, negative parts.
Living with active addiction is living with much more than a chemical dependency on a specific substance. Addiction is a behavioral issue as much as it is a chemical or psychological issue. It is not uncommon for men to get sober only to find that their addiction tendencies are thriving in other areas of their life. For many men in recovery, “addiction swapping” can manifest as a crutch to living without their substance of choice. The substance may be gone, but the needs filled by the behavioral process of addiction still needs to be transformed.
Addiction swapping is a term used to describe the tendency for men to replace their substance addiction with another addiction, which may or may not include some kind of substances. For example, a man who is recovering from an active heroin addiction might find himself addicted to junk food which gives him the same satiated, relaxed feelings heroin did. A man who is recovering from crystal meth addiction may become dependent on caffeine, sugar, or reckless behaviors which give him an adrenaline rush. Men who are recovering from alcohol are known to have a strong pull toward sugary food substances to satisfy the body’s chemical need for sugar, left in a deficit from alcoholism. Many men find exercise and fitness to be a critical part of their recovery routine. However, an obsession with the gym, diet, nutrition, and fitness can become unhealthy.
Obsession is typically a key indicator that “addiction swapping” is taking place. Not all obsessions are unhealthy. If an obsession is leading to any kind of self-sabotage, a change needs to take place. When relationships, responsibilities, or mental health come second, there is a problem at hand. When men are in treatment and are not fully committing to their process of recovery because of how much “better” their new obsession is making them feel, that obsession has become an interference to their emotional development.
Getting sober is easy, but staying sober long term can be a challenge. It takes time, work, energy, and dedication, as well as the support of an experienced, passionate clinical team. Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon offers men’s treatment programs for addiction and alcoholism which offer men a path to freedom. By creating sustainable changes, men create a sustainable recovery for a lifetime. Call us today for information on our innovative programs: (503) 850-2474