Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing

Addiction

Positive Life Changes Can Trigger Addiction

by Alek Sabin

Addiction is a behavioral disease that can strike at any moment in life. Nobody ever plans to become an addict, but that’s not the point of addiction. Substance abuse usually starts as a fairly simple reaction to a person’s environment, whether it be caused by stress or social pressure, and then spirals into something that becomes uncontrollable.

At any point in life, addiction can take a person by surprise, if they are not careful. That is exactly why it is a problem that transcends any specific demographic. Because of this, it’s worth noting how even positive life changes may foster a situation that puts people more at risk of becoming addicts. Here are some such changes that could trigger addiction…

Career Advancements

Ideally, most people want to move up in their careers. Making more money and having a higher position allows us to elevate our lifestyle and afford things that we otherwise couldn’t (obviously). However, job changes, whether they be promotions or simply raises, also tend to come with a greater deal of responsibility, which means more stress.

With more stress comes more anxiety, and it isn’t uncommon for people to find their own ways to deal with it. Self-medicating for stress is a common way that people end up getting hooked onto a substance that they never intended to, which thus leads to addiction. This isn’t to say that you should avoid moving forward with your career, but it is important to find balance as you do so.

New Relationships

In addiction treatment, human connection is often touted of one of the linchpins of recovery. After all, a good support system is crucial to develop in early recovery. However, there are times when human connection is the very thing that ends up putting a person on the path towards addiction, in the first place.

Many illicit substances are fairly social in their nature, such as alcohol, after all. For this reason, a promising new relationship can easily be harmful to a person, in the long-term, if that relationship fosters an environment that promotes substance abuse. This may happen if a partner is already using an illicit substance, or isn’t supportive of a life of sobriety. Likewise, a relationship that goes bad and is rife with abuse can lead a person engage in substance abuse as a means for escape. After all, trauma is a major trigger for addiction.

Traveling to a New Place

The world is an enormous place, and it’s natural that people want to explore as much of it as they can. Few things are as exciting as visiting a new place, or even moving to live there, yourself! You should never be discouraged from traveling around the world, as getting out of your own backyard is a very healthy thing. However, it’s also important to be smart about traveling.

Typically, traveling comes with a culture all to its own, and there can be several pitfalls about the communities of travelers that you are liable to meet. In particular, backpackers and vacationers are more likely to be letting loose during this time, and are more liable than your average person to be engaging in excessive substance abuse. Oftentimes, addiction starts in a social setting by folks who are only looking for a good time, but those instances can have lasting consequences.

Education Opportunities

It’s no secret today that there are several cultural issues revolving around substance abuse in the world of higher education. Whether it be a high rate of binge drinking, using study drugs to cram in study time, or an atmosphere of partying, in general, colleges have a reputation for fostering a high degree of substance abuse. Some of this image is caught up in hyperbolic stereotypes, but there is a kernel of truth there, as well.

Students who are balancing an education with work, and possibly even family life, are bound to experience high levels of stress. As stated above, stress is a major trigger of addiction, and can put a person in a situation where they feel they need to compensate for those feelings, chemically.

About the Author

Alek is a conman who somehow tricked people into paying him to write. Whether you want to talk boxing statistics or Gilmore Girls episodes, Alek will fervently get into any topic that you are passionate about. On weekdays, you can find him eloquently babbling in tongues to businesses about their marketing. On weekends, you can find him daydreaming about hosting a wine-and-cheese tasting travel show on PBS. There’s definitely an audience for it!

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Recovering The Self is a forum for people to tell their stories. Individual contributors accept complete responsibility for the veracity, accuracy, and non-infringement of their reporting.
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