As addicts we need to totally change our lives, in order to be free of addictions and the temptations to reuse.
It is my belief that God created us, and that addiction is not a surprise to Him. Actually, He created everything associated with addiction, but the purpose was originally for good. It was to get us addicted to, and derive pleasure from the good things. It was to help us to be devoted to God, and the things that benefit our lives. But, we are fallen and our love and devotion to good things, becomes used for evil and twisted.
So, as addicts we must replace our bad addictions, with good things. We must devote ourselves to things that do not harm us. By doing this it will help us avoid temptations, controlling influences, and give us a stepping place to be free of everything, except for what we choose to be devoted to.
Addiction is not always based on chemicals we consume. Gambling, Sex addictions, Food addictions, are not caused by chemicals you take. They are from chemicals produced in the brain, that bring pleasure in some way. Even the drugs we take influence those chemicals already in our brain. That’s where the battle must occur.
I am in no way simplifying or belittling the struggle we as addicts face. I’m not saying that simply painting pictures, or going to church, or exercising will cure us. I’m saying these things are tools to a better life, and a distraction from the gnawing desire of what we crave. Then, over time the craving gets less and less. It has helped me.
So, let’s begin. These are things we can become addicted or devoted to that will help us take the focus off of our current addictions and give us purpose, and hope. The first thing is;
God– Become addicted to God, the things of God and serving Him as He calls you. This goes along with any 12 step program, but what I’m saying is that we really let God have more of an influence in our life. He calls you to a relationship with Him. This has worked for millions, and is the real foundation of AA, and the 12 step programs. Ask God to save you and heal you through Jesus Christ. Then walk a spiritual path, with Him working in your life. Addict yourself to it. I have done it and God works in my life daily.
Travel– I use travel as a form of healing. When I was a drunk, I had no money or real desire to see the world. When I was in prison I could not see the world. But, now I see it. I use travel to remain excited about life, and to not have a reason to use. Start traveling locally. Go to a new restaurant, museums, parks, and the next town over. Then start planning better trips. Start close, so you will not get discouraged with costs, or the inability to go. Become addicted to exploring and freedom. But, remember you are still an addict and need to avoid triggers.
Health and Fitness– Become addicted to health and fitness. Eat right, try new diets and join a gym. Start running, walking, and cycling. Grow your own healthy food. Go to farmer’s markets and get fresh organic food. Study herbs, and alternative medicines to avoid the pharmaceuticals. Get addicted to it. Not steroids, but health and life. It’s a life style change that will help you decide to stay clean, because you’ve worked too hard to be healthy. I’ve come to a place in my life, where I try my best to take no meds that are not natural. You can do it.
Athletics– Get addicted to sports. Not just watching them, but playing them. Pick a sport you can do, and go all in. Team sports will help you remain accountable. Individual sports will help you to be responsible for yourself and increase will power. Basketball, swimming, rock climbing, softball, tennis, marathons, there are tons of sports to choose from. I went with running. Study it, practice it, and get better and better. Addict yourself to it, and let it heal you. This can be done with other things mentioned here. You can travel to play your sport. You can be healthy for your sport. You can talk to God while performing your sport. Get addicted to it.
Outdoors– Get addicted to the outdoors. Get in love with God’s creation. Go hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, or just go out there and sit and meditate. I can tell you that many of the greatest breakthroughs I have had in my healing have come from being in the woods, alone with God.
Serve others– Get addicted to helping others. Join groups that are making a difference. Help others with addiction or who have worse troubles than you. You have come through much, use it to help others. Save the planet, save animals. Give yourself to God and others. Watch what happens to you and your life. Often times when we try to heal others, we find ourselves healed in the process. But, remember that when you are dealing with people it can tempt you to use. You should avoid helping other addicts till you are strong enough. Just get away from that mess. Serve in other ways that is not a trigger.
Start a Business– Get addicted to the excitement of entrepreneurship. Study, go to school, and get a job in the field you love or feel called to, then start your own business so you can provide for yourself and your family. The effort and success will benefit you in many ways, and give you reasons to stay clean. If school and jobs are not an option, then just go out and make it happen. Do not be tied down by fear and controlling influences. Get addicted to success and being financially free. Learn a trade.
Art– Get addicted to creating art. Embrace your creative side and let it heal you. Travel to see art. Buy art. Make art. Go to school for art. Try all the various art forms, painting, music, writing, architecture, cooking, acting, or any other art form that speaks to you. The desire to create can help you avoid things that prevent you from creating.
This is a list of things you can do to change your life and help give you a purpose and a focus that is not drug oriented. But, be aware that drugs and alcohol can easily be involved with all these things, and they can just as easily destroy them. I used alcohol with many of these things camping, writing, and travel or food. But, it destroyed me and kept me from them. I would drink while writing, but after a few drinks I could no longer write, and it eventually kept me from it.
A person can be tempted while doing these things. Art often links to drug use. Sports, involves drinking. Business might cause you to be led into a business meeting where there is alcohol. But, if you use these things in conjunction with other methods of sobriety such as 12 step programs or rehab, they can benefit you. The key is to stay away from situations that will lead you to use, and destroy the life you are trying to build.
I currently use all of these methods in my life. My life has become full of goodness and focused on so much that I simply cannot use. I would lose everything. I would not be able to focus. These things give me more reasons to say no. They give me more reasons to get up every day and stay sober. God has helped me and opened my eyes to these things.
Remember, that these things must be a part of a lifestyle change. They cannot be like a diet, where you are just trying to lose a few pounds. You must decide to be new, and give yourself to God, and make changes for real. If you just want to get a little straight, you will be craving your old life, the whole time you are struggling to stay sober. You must decide that the new life is better for you, and be happy about it. You must decide to hate your old life. You must get addicted to the good things.
You must wake up to God. You must wake up to life, and hate the death that once controlled you. You must realize that God is healing you, even if you can’t see it right now. That is faith. You must wake up to the child you once were before the poisons took over your life. Remember that free child who had hopes and dreams? Now, go find that little one. That’s the real you. Get addicted to the real you.
This is the link to my addiction recovery book. It’s an Ebook. It tells my story of addiction and recovery, along with my views on how to stay clean.