Once you enter treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction, your hope is that you have overcome the compulsion to turn to your substance of choice. In recovery, you get to learn new coping skills and you surround yourself with people who understand what it’s like to rely on alcohol and drugs. Addiction goes beyond using too much of a substance. It is about an inner challenge to work on the reasons why addiction started and continues. Substitute addictions come up when a person quits one substance and tries something else because they have not dealt with the true nature of their addiction.

Food Addiction

A common substitute in recovery is food. It is easily available, legal, and not something people think about because they have to eat every day. Now that the person is not drinking or using drugs, it is easy to reach for cookies, cake or candies. Perhaps the person opens the fridge to console themselves with leftovers or whatever else they might find. Overeating may make you feel better now that you cannot numb your feelings any other way.

Gambling Addiction

Some people feel sober life is boring, so turn to other things for excitement. This may lead to gambling. It may start off as innocent fun, but at some point, the person may realize they are gambling compulsively. When the person cannot control this impulse, in spite of negative consequences, they may have replaced their addiction with gambling.

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Sex and Relationships

Turning to sex, pornography, or one relationship after another is a way of putting themselves on an emotional roller coaster. These behaviors could be a sign they are looking for something or someone outside themselves to make things better but it may lead to problems. Focusing too much on these things can impact relationships negatively.

Work Addiction

Working too much is a sign of trying to fill an empty void in a person’s life by substituting something else. After years of drinking too much or chasing drugs, it may feel like their career and job has stalled. Approaching work with a mindset of working harder to get ahead can lead to addictive behaviors.


If a person turns to anything other than sober and recovery programs to find solace, they are likely turning towards substitutions to escape reality. It is important to recognize when a person substitutes a drug of choice with a different substance or behavior that is unhealthy. The awareness you are behaving in such a way is the first step to seeking help before it gets out of hand.

Our goal at Springboard is to help you break the habits and patterns leading to addiction so you can live a healthy life. If you are struggling with substituting one addiction for another, we are here to help. It is important to recognize that many of our services offer a group setting and environment so that the client spends time with other people affected by the same chronic disease and problems. 432-620-0255