Most addicts have sensed from the time they were children that it was difficult to do anything in moderation. Though they may not have understood what drugs or alcohol were at a young age, they often displayed their addictive tendencies in other ways. Young soon- to- be addicts often over ate, under ate compulsively dieted, become obsessed with certain books or movies, or spent countless hours perfecting a hobby.
There are certain characteristics that constitute an addict, and they don’t have to involve drugs or alcohol. Though the negative consequences of compulsively doing drugs or alcohol are well known, is having an addictive personality in general always such a negative thing?
A study conducted on childhood addictive tendencies concluded that, “there are genetic factors that are related to both low self- control and gambling or problem gambling. Another possibility is that children who are low in emotional and behavioral control tend to associate with other under controlled children who introduce them to gambling activities.” So addictive tendencies do indeed begin in childhood, but the question of self- control comes in to play. While having no self-control can lead to a negative result, some argue that having too much self- control can also be damaging.
Self- control prevents people from making poor decisions, but if one is too self-controlled or cautious in life, they also are adverse to risk taking. Addicts have too little self-control, but if harnessed correctly, they may be able to use their lack of self-control in a positive manner. As long as they learn not to act on impulsive alone, addicts have the potential to be highly creative, intelligent, and lucrative in their careers. They often see things outside the box of what others see, and believe in possibilities where others may see none.
Scientific American conducted a study that concluded that addicts have a risk-taking personality, and there is “definitely something charismatic about risk takers.” This is a positive correlation between those with addictive personalities and human attributes we value. Elite Daily further concludes that if channeled the correct way, “your passions will cause you to crave success as badly as you could any cigarette.” It’s no wonder that many recovering addicts who are successful in staying sober go on to become businessmen, writers, teachers, entrepreneurs, and other great contributors to society. As addicts, we enjoy doing things in excess. Once we find something we enjoy, we tend to work at it until we excel at it.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains the addictive personality in their Chapter to Employers. They state, “ As a class, alcoholics are energetic people. They work hard and they play hard. Being somewhat weakened, and faced with physical and mental readjustment to a life, which knows no alcohol, he may overdo. You may have to curb his desire to work sixteen hours a day. You may need to encourage him to play once in a while.”
In conclusion, there are several positive attributes that recovering addicts have. As the Big Book says, we work hard and play hard. We tend to throw ourselves into a task and work at it until we are perfect at it. Here are a few ways you can channel your addictive personality in a positive way once sober.
1.Get very involved in work, or start a new career path. There’s no better time than now to start your dream job or work on getting that raise you finally deserve at your job. If you are a stay at home mom or no longer work, get involved in community projects at your local church, or start working on that hobby that you gave up years ago while drinking. Chances are, you will excel at whatever you set your mind to.
2.Exercise. Get in the best shape of your life. There is a reason why so many recovering addicts are becoming marathon addicts. First of all, it’s a distraction from wanting to use, but it also serves a chemical purpose. Your body creates endorphins and dopamine that you’ve depleted from years of abusing drugs and alcohol. One source says, “The high and pleasure of the experience may cause a drug-like response to your brain.”
3.Remember that good addictions are better than bad ones, but recovery is what’s most important. It’s healthy for you to channel your addictive personality into something positive. It can be a healthy distraction, and can be a way for you to improve your self-esteem and recognize that you have certain characteristics that are valued in society. However, anything done in extreme, whether healthy or not, can become a problem. If you are using work, exercise, or any other vice to avoid coping with negative emotions, then it can become a problem. There’s no harm in running a marathon or getting a promotion. Just make sure that you are working on your spiritual growth to recover from the mindset that draws you towards excess. As the Big Book says, work hard, but play hard too. Don’t forget to take a step back and relax in recovery.
Are you struggling with an addictive personality that has lead you in the wrong direction? If you have a problem with drugs and alcohol and are looking for a solution, contact Linda Rose at Footprints Behavioral Health. Call (949)-558-4723 to start your roadmap towards recovery today.