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Altered Perspectives is a discussion to encourage recovering addicts to talk about what I have come to think of as “Surrogate Addiction” or “Proxy Addiction”. I suspect each of us, in some capacity, used this type of “substance replacement,” as an impetus to aid them in their wish to seek shelter in recovery.
Committing oneself to entering recovery is a frightening leap of faith; remaining in recovery is absolutely terrifying, well….at least for the vast majority. To finally abandon the tenuous security of the ledge, most of us require significant distraction. During active addiction, all our time had been earmarked to satisfy the needs of our habits. As we initially entered into recovery many of us were bewildered by the excess of time on our hands. All of us experienced this void in some measure; however, it is my personal belief that those least distressed by this commonality were the individuals who had assigned a “Surrogate Addiction.”
For me, it was running. Running, running, running; an activity which quickly came to include virtually all forms of strenuous physical activity. This new “addiction” serendipitously offered collateral benefits which, by their nature, collectively synergized the cohesion between mind and body. Ultimately, I accrued a litany of valuable assets which became instrumental to improving my quality of life. These included: quitting smoking; learning the advantages of a healthy diet; implementing the re-construction of my personal diet in compliance with the beneficial parameters of a low-fat, low to moderate carbohydrate, high protein dietary model; and so many other tangential benefits which I will save for later discussion.
My initial transmutation of personal addiction has, over the years, gradually morphed and expanded to include other activities, such as weight training and aerobics, racquet ball, and at times swimming. I have given up running distance; a passion I routinely practiced for over 15 years. However, after sustaining injuries which culminated in bi-lateral hip replacements, I've since deferred to caution, pursuing fitness venues with inherently lower risk of impact related injury. I still do however, make regular efforts to keep in shape as best I can.
So, I’d like to hear from as many of you who feel comfortable describing which “Surrogate Addiction” helped usher them into recovery. I've known recovering addicts who have used, art/ drawing; writing; reading; gardening…..even laughter, by way of constantly watching various comedy movies/television broadcasts, a process which has actually been supported scientifically, by a mechanism I’ll discuss in one of my following posts. I look forward to hearing from any and all interested parties.