Switching addictions, can a drug addict drink Alcohol?

By David Joel Miller

Can or should a drug addict drink alcohol?

No drinking sign.

Can an addict drink?
Photo courtesy of Flickr

This comes up frequently in recovery circles. Typically after the person has drunk and had a bad result.

One saying, that may tell the story, is that if you scratch an addict underneath you find an alcoholic.

The great illusion of any addicted person is that the will find some other substance, some other process out there that will allow them to feel those same highs, to reach for a new solution to avoid their problems and be able to handle that substance.

Lots of addict’s alibi that alcohol is legal so there should be no problem with their using it. Truth is that the legal drugs cause the most damage.

Alcohol is a drug, make no mistake about that. It alters thinking. Whether you have had a problem with alcohol in the past or not, alcohol will turn off the part of the brain that tells you “HAY STUPID, DO NOT DO THAT.”

For most people in substance use or abuse recovery, the drugs or the alcohol are not the problems. The drugs, alcohol, gambling or addictive sex become the solution. The problem is that the user does not know how to live life without the thing or activity they have become dependent upon.

My recommendation is that if you are in recovery from drugs or any other addictive behavior you should avoid alcohol.

Alcohol is not the only substitute addiction that creeps up on recovering people. It is common for recovering people to switch addictions.

Often in groups, I hear from recovering people that they are trying to have fun without their drug of choice and they have been spending time at the local casino. That excitement of the risk of wagering is taking the place of the previous drug high.

No longer having to pay for drugs they take that leftover money and head for the casino. Recovering people can quickly find they have developed a problem with gambling, sex addiction or any other addictive behavior.

If you are in any type of recovery, be very careful about merely switching from one addictive substance or activity to another.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


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