CWAR Chat: When we replace one addiction with another

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In case you missed it, yesterday we hosted an amazing discussion and Twitter chat, where Kim Barthel and Theo Fleury joined people across the globe in a conversation about replacing one addiction with another.

If you happened to miss out this time, here’s some of the highlights from Kim and Theo:

How do you define addiction? 

Theo:

  • Addiction in its simplest form is a coping strategy associated with emotional pain left from a traumatic experience.

Kim:

  • A behaviour that becomes a coping strategy for dealing with suffering. Both behavioural and neurochemical.
  • The brain tries to create a state of balance within itself. Addiction is a way to try to create that balance.

Is it common for addicts to replace one addiction with another?

Theo: 

  • We will gravitate to anything that helps us numb the pain of our most hurt self.

Kim: 

  • All addictions involve the chemical of dopamine, and different sources can provide that chemical. Take one away, need another.

What signs would we see that one addiction is being replaced with another? 

Theo: 

  • Health decreases. Having trouble sleeping. Distant behaviour. Distracted. Not present.

Kim: 

  • You will see an increase in impulsivity, restlessness, short attention span, repeated thoughts. These are all signs.

Why do addicts find a replacement? 

Kim: 

  • To continue to cope with underlying trauma that is unresolved.

Theo: 

  • Not sure it’s finding a replacement it’s sort of a natural progression to finding other things that help manage their pain.

Is there such a thing as a ‘healthy’ addiction? 

Theo: 

  • Negative consequences are always at the forefront of addictive behaviour.

Kim: 

  • Balance is the issue for all of these comments about anything we do in an excessive way.

Can addicts ever be free of addiction? 

Theo: 

  • They sure can but it takes willingness and commitment to dedicate yourself to a daily routine.
  • As we start to participate in our own lives and acknowledge our pain, clarity and understanding happen naturally.

Kim: 

  • I personally think we all have addictive personalities. They are just on a continuum of subtle to intense.

What advice do you have for addicts struggling with one or many addictions?

Kim: 

  • Today I have been reading about breathing and it’s impact on the addiction circuits in the brain. It helps the amygdala calm down.

Theo: 

  • Asking for help doesn’t mean your weak! It’s the greatest act of courage 4 yourself. Find vulnerable and safe people to talk too. If I didn’t ask for help I would be dead!

 

On October 3rd, Kim and Theo will be in Winnipeg, Manitoba for an amazing day of conversations like this oneMore information and pricing can be found online here.

If you’re looking for more on this topic, read our blog posts as we cover this often. You can also connect with us on Twitter, and view the full chat script by searching #CWARchat on Twitter.

 

– Written by Amber Craig

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