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9 Ways Women Act Out in Recovery

9 Ways Women Act Out in Recovery

By now, you’ve probably heard at least one person say that they are ‘cross-addicted,’ meaning that they are addicted to more than one substance. Well, this can also mean that their addiction shows up in different behaviors, other than drug-using behaviors. This is especially true for people in recovery. Here are 9 ways that women in recovery ‘act out’ in recovery.

#1. Overeating

A lot of women in recovery (and otherwise) turn to food as a source of emotional comfort. Eating when you aren’t hungry or treating food as a way to reward yourself can be an indication of a burgeoning food issue.

#2. Restricting food

On the other hand, when it comes to food and eating, some women in recovery act out by restricting their diets to the extreme and often, women who struggle with addiction also have eating disorder issues. In recovery from their drug addiction, they might see themselves acting out on their past eating disorder.

#3. Sexually

You’re in recovery from drugs and alcohol but now you’re sleeping around. There’s no judgment here, just a word of caution: if you’re behaving in this way because it’s the only way you think you can feel good about yourself, then it’s time to take a good look at what you’re doing: recovering addicts and alcoholics used substances in the past in order to fill an inner void, turning to something external in which to find happiness. If you’re using sex to fill that void, then you are acting out in a way that may not involve drugs but, is ‘addict behavior,’ nonetheless.

#4. Dating

This is different from acting out sexually. Women who cannot be single, meaning that they are constantly going from one relationship to another or remaining in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship are acting out in yet another way. This type of behavior addiction is sometimes called ‘love addiction’ or codependency – when you put another’s needs ahead of your own.

#5. Excessively working out

There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Yes, exercising can be good for you but, it can become a problem if you’re dedicating way too much time to working out – so much so that your personal relationships, professional life, and/or health is suffering. If any of these occur, this can be a sign that you are finding another way to act out, instead of drinking or drugging.

#6. Shopping

Again, substance addiction is like any other addiction: we’re looking for an external source of our happiness. Some women act out in recovery by going overboard with shopping, whether it’s clothes, shoes, makeup, furniture, etc.

#7. Gambling

At the casino or online, women in recovery might act out by getting caught up in gambling. In fact, many people who struggle with a gambling addiction say they get a drug-like high when they’re gambling, and especially when they’re winning.

#8. Social Media
There’s Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest – and probably some others – that are a great way for us to distract ourselves from, well, ourselves.

#9. Working too much

Some women act out in recovery by throwing themselves into their work. They might be checking their work email in the evenings and over the weekends, or whenever they’re supposed to be off-the-clock. It’s great to be passionate about your job or career. However, if you’re sacrificing your personal time and/or your personal relationships for work, then it’s possible you are using it as a way to avoid being with yourself.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.


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