Addiction during divorce

The divorced population is a high-risk population. A high-risk for addictions, illness, emotional problems, you name it, divorce makes living and coping difficult. Divorce is a perfect breeding ground for addictions. Think about it. You lose many if not all the anchors in your life. The loss and stress quotient is off the charts. You’re being is shaken to the core. Dramatic changes in your identity, your circle of friends, loss of the family home, living arrangements, the financial tsunami, alimony, child support, trying to be strong for your kids, can make you feel empty and you long to fill the void with something pleasurable.

It’s no mystery stress levels are in the stratosphere, depression follows you and anxiety is ever-present. Men and women worry about different things. Guys tend to worry over alimony payments and their kids. Women worry about losing their “nest” where they raised their kids and their finances post-divorce.

Question: What do people in a divorce situation tend to do with this type of pain?

Answer: Self-medicate.

Self-medication is using something that’s pleasurable to reduce emotional pain. Drinking, using drugs of any kind, eating, porn, sex, relationships, shopping and more can be used to self-medicate. When you self-medicate, you’re on the fast-track to addiction. Always ask yourself; Why am I doing this? If the answer is to ease the emotional pain, or that you deserve that extra glass of wine because you had a bad day, you’re on shaky ground. Difficult life circumstances are a breeding ground for addictions.

Ask yourself five questions about your “indulgence”.

  1. Are you preoccupied with alcohol, eating, Valium, etc?
  2. As time goes on, do you have less control over it?
  3. Do you need more overtime to give you satisfaction?
  4. Do you experience withdrawal if the behavior is avoided or resisted?
  5. Do you experience anxiety or depression if you don’t engage in your drug of choice?

If you, answered yes to any one of the above questions, pause and really consider the path you’re on. Now might be the time to nip it in the bud before it additionally complicates an already complicated life. If necessary, get the support you need. Now.