Behavioral Addictions, What Are They and How Does One Develop?
Behavioral addictions or non-substance addictions, like gambling addiction, are a set of behaviors that a person becomes dependent on and craves.
Getting sober has countless benefits. From feeling and looking healthier to repairing our relationships with ourselves, to allowing us to become successful in other personal relationships, sobriety can greatly impact our lives. It’s so much more than just quitting drugs and alcohol. We are clear headed and we begin to take a look at negative behavioral patterns in our lives. This can directly impact our personal relationships, which is exactly what happened for me.
Here are 5 ways sobriety has improved my personal relationships.
Unsurprisingly, drama filled my life during my years of active drinking. In almost all of my romantic relationships and friendships, drama played a role. I was known to have a short temper, I would react quickly and erratically, and I would use people for what they could give me. I never saw or believed any of this until I got sober and started taking an honest look at my behavior. I know I didn’t cause all drama in my relationships, but I did play my part and was able to fix that moving forward.
During my active addiction, I would remain in toxic relationships and friendships for extended periods of time. I was unable to leave the cycles of toxicity, and I was unable to see that the type of love I was bringing into my life was the kind I was willing to accept for myself. I didn’t know when to say, “enough is enough,” with alcohol or with abuse. One of the best things I’ve learned in recovery is how I want to be treated in a relationship and what kind of treatment I am and am not willing to accept.
I was either the giver or the taker; there was no in between for me. I didn’t understand that relationships are supposed to be a healthy partnership where both people give and take and are there for each other. In sobriety, I’ve learned about self-care, which includes boundaries and establishing what is an appropriate amount of giving and taking in a committed relationship or in a friendship. I no longer take advantage of people or let them take advantage of me.
I didn’t understand the concept of every person being a regular human being and doing the best they can. It wasn’t until I got sober that I started to learn that people are flawed. It’s our natural state as humans, and each person on this planet has been through their own set of experiences, trauma, and pain. In each relationship I was in when I was drinking, I expected too much of my partner and too much of myself. My expectations were unrealistic to say the least. I would then get angry when these expectations weren’t met, and that’s how the drama started. It has taken me 4 years of sobriety and working on myself, but I feel like I’m finally able to understand that every person is doing the best they can with the hand they’ve been dealt. All people can change, but that doesn’t mean they deserve your time.
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I used to be an extremely jealous partner, and I engaged in manipulative behavioral patterns like checking my partner’s phone or social media accounts, accusing them of flirting or being involved with other people, and becoming angry about unimportant things. Through self-development and sobriety, I realized that most of these behaviors were a result of my own insecurities. I had to learn how to trust my partner, believe in myself, respect my own boundaries, and understand that even with good intentions those manipulations would never help make my relationship better. I also learned how to establish genuine friendships with people based on common interests and morals, instead of common drug and alcohol use.
Sobriety has given me so many amazing things, but I count the ability to exist in relationships as one of the top. I can honestly say today that I am a good friend, daughter, sister, aunt, partner, and cat mom. I still make mistakes, but I learn from them, I evolve, and I hang on tight to my sobriety along the way.
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