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Change of Addiction

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Change of Addiction:

With any addiction, understanding serious side-effects is an important step towards sobriety. At the same time, understanding the opposite of addiction is an important step towards recovery. While many mistakenly think "sobriety" is the opposite of "addiction", psychologists today would argue that "connection" is addiction's true opposite. Absence of addiction is a hollow void left unfilled, and healthy connections help recovering addicts fill their emptiness. Since Group Dependency Disorder is an addiction to unhealthy connections, the void created by its removal for former cult members is almost unbearable.

Many religious cults promote the idea that they are "healthy" by using former addicts as their example. Those who traded chemical addiction for group addiction testify to the positive impact their cult group had on their lives, not understanding the harmful effects a destructive cult group will have. Like a meth addict switching to cocaine to avoid the severe changes to physical appearance, addicts find change to group addiction much less drastic. Unaware of the research detailing harmful and addictive qualities of a cult, former chemical addicts feel as though they removed addiction from their lives. Unfortunately, they have simply traded one addiction for another.

Former members who joined under these circumstances are at risk for addiction relapse. The void that is created by leaving their cult reminds them of the withdrawal symptoms when fighting chemical addiction, and just as it was before joining, they quickly learn that willpower alone is not enough. Recognizing this void is a very critical part of cult recovery. Former members must understand the clinical and diagnostic issues of Group Dependency Disorder, and treat their symptoms with healthy connections. Those at high risk of relapse must also seek professional help through counseling towards healthy recovery. Taking appropriate steps will avoid relapse.