Being in the addiction treatment field for over a decade, we have seen a lot of different personalities. The personality of an addict or alcoholic is unique in the sense that they have had to use their intellect, wit, charm, and motivation in order to get drunk or high without being caught or stopped. This takes a lot of work and even more focus and attention than your average person gives. The addict or alcoholic must lie in order to survive; the scary truth is that lie actually becomes their reality.
This is why many of our employees are in recovery themselves. An addict & alcoholic just gets it. In a matter of hours an addict or alcoholic will gain the understanding and trust of someone new in recovery or treatment just based on their experience, because it’s real. Only another addict can understand that pain, fear, worry, anger, and that empty space. This may not sound very scientific or even clinical, but what we can tell you, is that we have been around long enough in the addiction treatment field to know the character traits of an active addict and the relapser.
The Deceiver, Manipulator, & Griever
Most addicts and alcoholics are extremely intelligent. They display characteristics of being witty, quick thinkers, charming, and charismatic; they posses a certain kind of charisma that can be very appealing. They are survivors, doing whatever it takes to get what they want and do what they want to do. They are the masters of dishonesty, confusion, justification, persuasion, bullying, creator of chaos, and manipulation. They may charm you on occasion and on other occasions bully you when confronted on their behavior, making you think you are the crazy one.
The tragic and alarming truth is that they are in so much denial and delusion that they actually believe their own judgements and reasoning. They have no clue that they are even being self destructive; they always blame others for their turmoil and tragedies. There is a high level of expectation that others should feel sorry for them and that the world essentially revolves around them. They are selfish, self-righteous, and self-seeking.
This is the same person that thinks they know how they should recover, where to go for treatment, and how the facility should be run. They are the ones that scream, “It’s not fair” and expect their family members to all of a sudden feel sorry for them. They have held everyone around them emotionally hostage and feel somehow the world owes them. The more life doesn’t go “their” way, the more they act out in behaviors that seem like that of a child. They are emotionally unstable even if in other respects they seem absolutely sane. They are the great creators of confusion and chaos; they are the active addict and alcoholic.
Enabling Your Loved One To Death
Unfortunately, this behavior doesn’t stop when the addict or alcoholic gets clean and sober unless the person is willing to change. This personality can and will stay with them until they hit an emotional bottom or a physical relapse. They are the ones that will share their pain with everyone and have no clue that they are slowly killing their loved ones and family. They are like a tornado ripping through a town that keeps trying to rebuild itself.
We are then left with two options. We can stay in denial ourselves about their behavior and love them to death or we can stop enabling them and listen to others who have gone on before us. The Watershed staff is a group of professionals that understand the disease of addiction. We have the experience of dealing with the addict who wants to run from treatment, control everything on the outside, and escape the pain of feeling their feelings. We are all too familiar with the addict and alcoholic that gets so angry they will stop at nothing to make sure others suffer because they feel justified in their anger. The anger is really that they can’t use and have to feel everything now. You can allow them to run, leave treatment, not go to meetings and hope that they just somehow stop behaving the way they are behaving, or you can try something different. It’s time to ask yourself are you or someone you know enabling an addict or alcoholic to death?
Written By: Watershed AshlingTags: Addict, alcoholic, enable, enabling, family, Recovery, relapse, Relapse Prevention, Relapse Warning Signs, Watershed Ashling