Cross Addiction


Addictions, whether to a substance or a behaviour, are all about coping.  Not

a good strategy, to be sure, but they are used as a way of managing feelings.

Fear and anger are prominent here, but so also are guilt and shame –

particularly ongoing shame which gets exacerbated by the very action that one takes to medicate it.  The low self esteem of the codependent sinks even lower

after s/he has drunk/eaten/gambled/spent/sexually acted out.

It often happens that individuals are addicted to more than one substance or behaviour at the same time.  A very common grouping is Alcohol, Cocaine, and

Sex, often with associated Work Addiction.  A typical scenario would be to end an intensive period of working with a few drinks, which leads to scoring cocaine,

which leads to sexual acting out.

One behaviour might appear when another has been stopped.  Sex addiction may become apparent after someone has achieved abstinence with drugs or alcohol.

Ex-smokers often report insatiable food cravings or those who compulsively

exercise, when faced with a debilitating injury, turn to another activity/substance to medicate their forced inactivity.

Sometimes the sufferer is only able to act out in one way when s/he is also involved in one or more other behaviours at the same time.  One example would be watching porn/smoking/masturbating.  If one of these behaviours is removed s/he is unable to perform the others.