Christian Drug Rehab

Switching Addictions


The concept of switching addictions is well known by those in recovery. It is the process by which someone gets clean from one substance or process and moves onto another to compensate for the “hole” created by giving up their primary addiction.

There are addictions to substances such as alcohol and food as well as process addictions such as gambling addiction, spending addiction, sexual addiction and relationship addiction. There are various 12-step programs that have risen up to meet these addictions offering the same program and solution as those used by addicts to get clean and sober from substances.
Common examples of switching addictions include the development of an eating disorder such as binging and purging after putting down drugs and alcohol, becoming obsessed with a relationship or sex with others after giving up one’s substance of choice or the incessant buying items, even when out of one’s budget.  All of these behaviors are derived from the same place, a proverbial “hole” within that leaves one irritable, restless and discontent unless they use a substance to fill it.

Switching addictions is often referred to as changing seats on the Titanic – because any addiction will ultimately lead to death. Although this outcome seems extreme, it happens again and again. Over time the secondary addiction isn’t enough because addiction is the disease of “more” and the addict often turns back to their substance of choice which can lead to death, unless they get help through addiction treatment.

Because the source of all addictions is ultimately the same, the solution is the same – turning one’s life over to a higher power. Over time that higher power fills the “hole” through the gifts of life that are revealed through spiritual practices. The spiritual principles absorbed through 12 step programs include honesty, acceptance, surrender and brotherly/sisterly love. By practicing these over time, the addict has less inner conflict through being honest, has less irritability through accepting things they cannot change and experiences less discontentedness through connecting with others and a higher power.

These spiritual practices are instilled while in drug treatment and begin to quiet the addiction. Through spiritual development, the addict begins to recognize their higher power as a protector, close friend and strong presence that becomes even stronger than the “hole” within.  If an addict is at risk of switching addictions, it usually happens quickly and while they are in addiction treatment. Luckily the clinical staff at drug treatment programs are able to recognize when someone is changing seats on the Titanic and can help them onto the life boat before the hole gets too big.