Why Character Defects Don’t Go Away Just Because You Get Sober

denial of addiction

Alcoholism is not a biologically degenerative condition nor a contagious one like the properties that some other illnesses may possess. However, it is a sickness in the same mirrored conception. Any and everybody’s quality of life will become deeply affected by the prominent character defects that alcoholic thinking feeds into. 

Thinking of everything that has plagued mankind since the beginning can be overwhelming. There’s been measles, mumps, and all sorts of bumps. There’s been cancers, AIDS, and rat-infested plagues. 

Then there is the camouflage disease. The stealthy sickness. The obsessive madness. This, of course, would be alcoholic thinking and the delusions it contrives.  

Alcoholic thinking is a disease that shares some of the same properties that many other disorders and/or irregularities have, but is still one of a kind. For starters, it is completely unwarranted. Nobody fully welcomes abscessed arms, burnt lips, or liver pains- but the irrationality of the disease takes them there.

You see, addiction is a mental disease that will rewire one’s brain. Toxic habits and behaviors will form and naturally continue until the addict puts an end to it. The only way to thrive through the addiction disease is to understand what makes this beast of a disease tick. 

Licensed To Kill

The idea that addiction is a disease speaks for the character defects that follow. It steals souls as it launches that person into a world of delusion. However, this is not an entire justification for behaviors that follow. The fact that alcoholic thinking can be corrected is where the fine line between rationality and irrationality lies.

Alcoholic thinking is a disease, and alcoholism is merely a symptom of it. We can have an addict or an alcoholic dealing with obsessive character defects, like insanity, even when no substances are ravaging through the bloodstream. Unfortunately, insanity is just a broad generalization of the many attributes that are usually accompanied by the disease. 

A few common character defects to occur in addicts include:

  • Dishonesty
  • Laziness
  • Selfishness
  • Anger
  • Disassociation
  • Poor Decisions
  • Immorality or Loss of Values

Those are just a few to mention, but the list could be much larger if we had the time. That all being said, understanding that addiction is a disease is vital because it instills the fact that none of the character defects just come or go in the night. It takes time for an addiction to grow into its monstrous potential. It is always on the psychological back burner; recovery just stops it from catching everything on fire.

No Ruby Red Slippers

The disease of alcoholic thinking causes continually poor decisions to be made – thus resulting in behaviors that become us. That’s the power addiction has on addicts and alcoholics of the like. It changes the way a person processes and rationalizes things in their lives. Addiction is a disease because of how it ropes the affected person into seeking harmful patterns and behaviors despite the character defects it creates.

For people of this inflicted nature, addiction can be described similarly to a schizophrenic imbalance. The character defects of any alcoholic thinker are already dysfunctional in practice. Then, adding an obsessive compulsion to drink day and night takes things to their max. A using addict versus an addict that has dropped the substances are entirely different. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that either one is better than the other.

It boils down to the work that is being put into self-improvement – substances or no substances. Treating alcoholic thinking isn’t just about tapping your shoes together and dropping the bottle just because it’s empty. To treat these character defects, there is action to be taken.

Shoo Defects- Go Away

Getting rid of the character defects that alcoholic thinking causes is a matter of comprehending our thought patterns. It’s a matter of understanding ourselves and why we make the choices we do. Alcoholic thinking will feed off the rawness of those character defects dwelling inside if we allow it. This is just the nature of the disease.

A wise man once said, “Watch your thoughts because your thoughts become your words. Watch your words because your words become your actions. Watch your actions because your actions become your habits. Watch your habits because your habits become your life. Watch your life because your life will become death”. Those in recovery learn the tools to work on those character defects that will try to become their lives. They do not dictate who we are unless we decide to let them.

It is often that alcoholic thinking disguises the not-so-pretty attributes. Drinking or getting loaded on any substances will only put on further layers to the masks being worn. This is why alcoholics must sober up before they can effectively work on themselves. 

Everybody makes mistakes, but some let their flaws shine brighter than others. In the end, we decide whether we want those character defects to weigh us down or if we’d prefer to break free.

What Can I Do About These Character Defects?

Fortunately, your negative traits don’t have to stay that way forever. We all have our shortcomings, so don’t feel like you’re the only one on this journey. The weaknesses themselves aren’t the problem. Rather, it’s the way people choose to accept them instead of working on them.

Outside of rehab, there are many habits you can implement into your routine to target these character defects. These habits range from lifestyle changes to simple additions to your routine. Remember, a character defect doesn’t mean that are defected as a whole. All it means is that it’s time to do some work on yourself.

How are Character Defects Able to Change?

This is a great question to ask if you’re not too familiar with how the brain works. Our brain has a very specific structure that allows it to function the way it does. For example, it is proven that repetition cements concepts into our minds. 

Over an extended amount of time, running every day will become second nature to you. It’ll seem like less of a choice and more as an ingrained part of who you are. As behaviors are repeated inconsistent settings, they then begin to proceed more efficiently and with less thought as control of the behavior transfers to cues in the environment that activate an automatic response: a habit.

There’s a misconception we have about how long it takes to form a habit. Many gurus go on to say that all it takes is 21 days. This may be true for some people, but it is certainly not true for all. A 2009 study from University College London has shown otherwise. The research, published in The European Journal of Social Psychology, followed habit-formation in 96 people over 12 weeks.

The UCL study looked at automaticity, which is how quickly people engaged in the actions they wanted to turn into habits. The amount of time that it took for actions to become habits varied. Participants anywhere between 18 and 254 days to form a habit. The average number of days needed to achieve automaticity was 76 days.

The Habits Themselves

Dr. Elliot Berkman, Director, Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, states that “It’s easier to start doing something new than to stop doing something habitual without a replacement behavior.”

Remember, these are habits you should use as replacement actions. In other words, replace a toxic habit with one of these instead. For example, let’s say you have anxiety and find yourself looping through all these negative emotions. Your current habit is to focus on these thoughts and go down a rabbit hole of anxiousness. Next time you find yourself doing this, change your state.

Changing State

State is a term widely used in the practice of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming). State is our being at the moment, our mood, and the way that we feel. It comes from our physiology, thinking, and emotions. Our states are the most immediate part of our experience.

We create them ourselves, and since they affect our capabilities, they also have an impact on the results that we get. State is something we can alter. Physical responses cause mental/emotional responses and vice versa. 

Focus

Change the pictures you are making inside your head – not just what you are picturing, but how you are picturing it. When we feel a certain way, there are typically visuals we see inside of our minds.

The key is to change those visuals. Let’s see you’re visualizing a certain situation. Is it blurry? What angle do you see the visual? Then create a new image with different qualities. This new image can be something that makes you feel calm or happy. You can also distort the old image in your head. Make it black and white. Make it grainy. Watch it move around slowly, breaking apart in your mind. 

Physiology

Change your body radically. In other words, get a move on! This includes anything that pushes different chemicals around your nervous system. Change your posture, facial expression, breathing, etc.

For example, let’s say you’re in a hunched over position when you notice depressive thoughts enter your mind. Are you breathing rapidly or slowly? 

Instead, sit up with your chin up. Start taking deep breaths and let yourself smile. Our physical state directly influences our emotions.

Self-Talk

Change your internal dialogue or self-talk – again; you can change the content or the language. How about your internal critic speaking to you in the voice of Donald Duck? Or move the location of the voices, so it sounds more high pitched! Or change it into a sexy, alluring tonality. 

Ask yourself a better quality question, instead of something like ‘why does this keep happening to me?’, ask ‘what can I learn from this circumstance?’ The ability to change your state and choose how you feel is key to emotional freedom. 

Visualization 

Visualizing ideal outcomes and scenarios is another powerful tool. Personally, this is one of my favorites. This has boosted my mood in tough times and inspired me to keep pushing, even when my current situation may be different. When you visualize what you want your life to look like, you get this realization of: “Wow. I can seriously do this.” 

Ask yourself: What would your life look like if your trigger and your bad habit didn’t exist at all? Now, try this: Take a few moments to think about what kind of habits or routines you would love to build in your life. This could be anything from working out every day to starting each morning with meditation.

Choose one habit to focus on during your visualization. Paint a vivid picture of yourself taking action. Engage all of your senses and make it as real as possible: What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What are you wearing? Is anyone with you? How do you feel?

Repeat this visualization often until the image becomes clearer and clearer in your mind.

Change the Why Behind Your Actions

Having a more genuine reason behind why you’re quitting can make a huge difference. “Even if you replace a “bad” habit with a more suitable one, sometimes the original vice will have a stronger biological “reward” than its substitute”, says Elliot Berkman, director of the University of Oregon’s Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab. 

“For example, your brain knows that gum is not nicotine and therefore won’t produce the same euphoric feeling that smoking a cigarette would”, he says. Intrinsic motivation is a key factor for this reason. You must understand why this new habit will benefit you more. There needs to be a stronger and more meaningful “why” behind your actions.

We understand that quitting smoking is good for our health, and eating a salad instead of fries will help us lose those extra pounds. But rooting habit changes in specific and personal reasons—giving up smoking for good may mean spending more years with your family or eating healthier may give you more energy for those outdoor adventures you used to enjoy—is a stronger source of motivation.

Call us at Coastal Detox Today

Addicts and alcoholics have more potential than most individuals that have walked the planet. It’s astounding how much-hidden potential lies beneath the character defects. Challenges present us with the opportunity to grow into better people.

Getting clean and dropping the chemicals will be the first step in changing that character. Our qualified medical staff will tend to your needs and help provide you the tools for a long-lasting sober life. With the right support and treatment, your entire life can change. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call. 

You can contact us here or call us at (866)-924-3350 to begin your recovery journey today. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.