Are you drinking, eating, and engaging in compulsive behaviors?

Are you finding yourself drinking and using drugs more than usual? Are you losing control of your eating? As human beings, we find creative ways to decrease and numb emotional, physical, and spiritual pain. For some, increased consumption of alcohol and other drugs may temporarily ease feelings of fear, anxiety, irritability, anger, and frustration. Self-medicating is when you use substances and/or behaviors to change how you feel. There are differences between drinking a glass of wine and out-of-control drinking, which can have devastating consequences. The problem with self-medicating is that it initially works, but can lead to a host of other problems. Another form of self-medicating is getting stuck in compulsive behaviors. Compulsive behaviors are behaviors you are driven to repeat. Compulsive behaviors include but are not limited to the following: Compulsive use of pornography sex, gambling, work, and screen time can all lead to negative consequences. Basically any behavior that you cannot stop engaging in is compulsive.   While playing video games may relieve stress and distract from challenging situations, some people can lose the ability to control their use. Compulsive gaming on the internet can also lead to social isolation. Social media can be essential to staying in touch with others. Again something that can be useful can also be unhealthy when taken to extremes.  Abuse of substances and behaviors can backfire and not only cause problems to feel worse but can create serious consequences. Here are just a few:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • Poor communication 
  • Damaged relationships
  • Loss of employment
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Physical deterioration
  • Financial hardship

There are consequences to compulsive eating. If you have struggled with an eating disorder such as compulsive overeating, anorexia, or bulimia you may find your symptoms to be reemerging or worsening.  Help for substance abuse. Ask yourself “is my drinking, drug-taking, and eating hurting myself or others?” Be as honest as you possibly can. Ask others how your use is affecting them. Once you have awareness of the impact of your use,  there are actions you can take to make helpful changes. Attend 12-step meetings. Many meetings are now on Zoom, which is easy to use. You can be completely anonymous by turning the video off and listening. You can also call in and your face and name will not appear on the video screen. Look up Zoom meetings in your area. Try not to let any preconceived ideas keep you from utilizing this option. Other resources are available.

Dharma recovery Refuge Recovery and women for sobriety all have on virtual or phone meetings. Al-Anon offers help for people affected by other’s drinking. • Al-Anon meetings are also available on Zoom.

Here are some resources to help you or a loved one who is abusing alcohol, drugs, or is struggling with controlling their eating, and compulsive behaviors.

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