Those who live with an addict will be all too aware of how their loved one’s behaviour has changed. Many family members and friends are often heard saying that their loved one is unrecognisable from the person that they once were.
Those who do develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol will often become self-centred and manipulative as they try to get the substance they crave. They may lie and cheat just to ensure that they are not deprived of the drugs or alcohol that they believe they need. The longer the person is addicted, the more he or she will perfect these skills; so much so that by the time he/she reaches a programme of rehabilitation, these skills may be entrenched and difficult to drop.
It is important to be able to recognise these negative traits in yourself and even more important to be prepared to say goodbye to them if you want to get your life back on track and repair the damage caused to many of your relationships. The following are the most common negative characteristics cultured by the addict:
- Self-Centeredness – The addict often becomes self-centred in a bid to enable him or her to get the substance he or she needs. This trait also comes in handy during the early days of recovery as the addict will find it easy to concentrate on his or her recovery and nothing else. However, now that you are in recovery, it is time to drop the ‘me me me’ attitude. While still working on staying sober, you can learn how to think about others and be more considerate of their feelings. If you do not learn to put others first, you will find it hard to build bridges with your loved ones.
- Anger and Resentment – Being resentful of others who you believed to be in the way of your addictive behaviour may have been a trait you developed while addicted. Anger and resentment are common among addicts, but now that you no longer relying on drugs or alcohol, you can stop feeling so angry and realise that others were only trying to help you. It is very important to work on anger issues because these can be detrimental to your sobriety and could cause a relapse if you give in to these feelings.
- Dishonesty – Telling lies to loved ones is something that almost every addict does. In fact, being dishonest is often how most addicts continue with their addictive behaviour without being detected for so long. Being untruthful allows the addict to manipulate various situations so that he or she will get what they need. However, dishonesty will hamper your recovery, so you must put this trait behind you. In order to get the most from your sobriety, you must be truthful with loved ones, counsellors and therapists. Continuing to lie and deceive others will mean you will never get better.
While the above characteristics picked up in addiction are ones you should say goodbye to, there is one that you should definitely continue to use; the one-day-at-a-time attitude. Most addicts live their lives one day at a time and spend their time from one drink or fix to the next. During recovery, it is also important to take things one day at a time and to celebrate each day that passes where you do not return to alcohol or drugs.
It may be difficult to drop the negative traits all at once; after all, you may have spent years perfecting them. However, with the right help and support, you can start to turn your life around and be a better person.