One problem that many people experience when they are recovering from an addiction is the desire to find substitutes for their former habit. Once they are able to abstain from the specific drug that they are addicted to, they may subconsciously always be looking for the next best things in addiction recovery that will give them the same feeling of escape or release. This is something to watch out for in recovery but it does not have to be a problem if you can find healthy, non-addictive activities to replace substances.
Whatever experience someone had with a particular drug, they may continually be looking for that even in their sobriety. They could become addicted to cigarettes or caffeine if they used to use some kind of stimulant. Or they might even become addicted to working, gambling, sex, shopping or any other number of risky habits because they believe it helps them cope with stress.
While going through a rehab or twelve-step program, people in recovery need to learn how to focus their search for the next best thing on healthier habits that will not lead to problems. Some people experience a rush of adrenaline and positive feelings from running or other types of exercise. Others may feel the relaxation that they are seeking from activities like meditating and deep breathing.
Replacing addictive habits is important as it can be difficult to completely eliminate the need to have something to release stress or focus your thoughts on. In recovery, it helps to find the things that make you experience something positive that you can look forward to. Healthy activities that allow people to cope more effectively with stress can be the only reasonable option for finding the “next best thing.”
If you are struggling with the tendency to substitute things in addiction recovery then talk to a therapist about finding activities that will help you deal with stress.