Many of us living with addictions also identify as having addictive personalities. What does this mean, and how do you know if this applies to you? When we have healthy ways of coping with life’s challenges, we can handle our emotions in productive ways. We have emotional independence, and we feel strong in our ability to rely on ourselves to get through difficulty. When we have an addictive personality, on the other hand, we find we form addictive relationships and dependencies in multiple areas of our lives. We form attachments pretty quickly and easily to substances, relationships and behaviors.
Our addictive personality can make us become easily attached to habits that aren’t healthy or constructive. These can range from relatively harmless habits to more compulsive habits that contribute to our anxiety and can form the basis of disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We can find ourselves attached to multiple habits, enough so that we feel that this tendency towards attachment is part of our personality, part of who we are as people.
When it comes to substances such as alcohol, for example, many people are able to drink it but don’t feel a dependence on it or attachment to it. It is something they enjoy doing but it doesn’t control their lives or cause them distress. Those of us with addictive personalities might find ourselves becoming attached to any substance we try. We might long for the feeling we get when we use any new substance, to the point where it becomes an urge or compulsion. Our urges are strong and powerful, and we don’t feel strong enough to withstand them.
Many of us also experience relationships that are unhealthy, toxic, codependent, even abusive, and we have such a recurring tendency to form these attachments that we feel our addictive personalities have contributed to developing a love and sex addiction, an addiction to dating and relationships. While many people experience unhealthy relationships at some point in their lives, those of us with addictive personalities might have multiple of these relationships, and it might have become a destructive pattern for us over the course of many years.
At the root of our addictive personalities is the belief that we need something or someone outside of ourselves to feel happy, whole and complete. We might use these things and people, often without realizing it, to cope with our feelings of sadness and anxiety, and our fears of inadequacy and unworthiness.
Healing is very much possible, even when we have what we consider to be addictive personalities. We have the power to heal any part of us that is causing us pain.
We understand recovery. Many of us have lived it firsthand. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.