Addiction replacement.

The impending blizzard that the mid-Atlantic region is supposed to get beginning tomorrow afternoon through Saturday evening has thrown my moving plans into overdrive. Larger furniture was  moved this afternoon and tonight and tomorrow I will be moving the rest of my earthly possessions so that, hopefully, everything will be in my house by the time the snow begins to fall. Then I get to spend all weekend snowed-in in my new house, finding a place for everything. It’s pretty much my idea of a perfect weekend.

But, in the meantime, I  have something on my mind that I feel compelled to write about. I read this post yesterday by my blog friend The Plump Vegan and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. She talks about how she feels herself wanting to replace one vice for another.

I can totally relate.

In college, I smoked socially – usually only when I drank (except for my semester abroad in England, when I smoked all the time, even when I wasn’t drinking). I never considered myself to be addicted. I haven’t had a cigarette in over two years, and in the three or so years before that, I probably only had one or two in an entire year. Even when I was smoking, I knew it was a gross, unhealthy habit. I did it anyway.

Because my smoking habits have been so sporadic – and totally non-existent in the last few years – you can imagine my surprise and bewilderment at the fact that I have found myself seriously longing for a cigarette.

I never even thought about smoking again before I started watching my diet so carefully. But I feel the pull very strongly now. So much so, that if I had a friend who smoked, I would have very likely bummed one off of them by now. Thank goodness that none of my friends smoke.

I feel like my body wants to replace one bad habit with another. I’m not eating chocolate or fast food like a fiend anymore, so my body feels like it needs to find some other way to hurt itself. I don’t understand this phenomenon, but I’ve heard about it before — addiction replacement.

Addiction replacement is why a lot of the former drug or alcohol addicts you see are smokers. They have given up their original habit, and replaced it with something only slightly less harmful. I am in the process of rehabilitating from a food addiction, and now here I am, feeling compelled to find another bad habit.

The pull has been so strong at times that I am honestly worried that I’m going to pull into the gas station and buy a pack of cigarettes, just like I used to pull through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. It was always a totally impulsive and thoughtless move and never left me feeling any better.

I’m mad at my brain and my body. Why couldn’t I feel compelled to exercise, or something else productive as an alternative to overeating? Why do I have to feel drawn to a totally stupid and unhealthy habit? It’s like just as I start succeeding at one battle, my body wants to give me another one. It’s really frustrating.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? Maybe not with smoking, but in another way? I’d love to hear about how you dealt with it.


3 Responses to “Addiction replacement.”

  1. theplumpvegan Says:

    I was having a yucky day, and then I read that I was your blog friend and it got better. That made me smile; thank you. 🙂

  2. theplumpvegan Says:

    And, p.s., that sounds like a perfect weekend to me too!

  3. Këlli Says:

    It’s actually funny I read this, because I’m going through a situation extremely similar to this. I used to be a smoker… For the most part, I only smoked every now and then, except the last few months of my smoking were pretty heavy. While I haven’t gone without smoking for too long, only two months (which is much, much less than the amount of time you’ve gone without smoking), I’ve been craving it now, too, for the first time since I quit. And, ironically enough, I’ve been cutting back on unhealthy food as well. I think that your body always wants to fall back on its addictions. Addictions make us feel comfortable, and breaking them is the most uncomfortable thing you can do.

    I’ve been having trouble continuing to eat healthy, because the unhealthy foods help satiate my sudden craving for nicotine. And when I feel like I don’t crave the smokes anymore, I start eating healthy again and excercising. Soon enough, though, the cravings come back. I’ve been able to resist smoking thus far despite the fact that most of my friends are smokers. If I work at it, I’m sure I’ll be able to handle eating healthier as well. It’s just a struggle, that’s for sure. 🙂

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