What are the personality traits of an alcoholic – and is there such a thing as an alcoholic “personality”. In the community, people who use alcohol compulsively tend to exhibit the characteristics of a depressive personality style. Not all depressive types will seek relief in alcohol drinking – people who use alcohol also appear to have issues about attachment, loss and abandonment, and low self esteem.
Alcohol is commonly used to relieve a depressive “mood”. A depressive personality type is one in which depressive thinking is more than an occasional mood, but has become a person’s habitual, defensive style in response to all life’s problems.
Perhaps the most challenging, and paradoxical aspect of the alcoholic personality is the apparent need to be accepted, to display power and appear autonomous whilst at the same time, tending to exhibit strong dependency needs. The alcoholic presents to the world a strong defensive “shell”. When not under the disinhibitory effects of alcohol, alcoholics tend to be introspective, and withdrawn, difficult to “fathom”, if not actually morose.
One of the characteristic features of alcoholism is denial about the “weakness” or impotence to deal with life’s problems, unassisted by drug use, that chronic alcoholism implies. Of utmost importance in the alcoholic fantasy is that the alcoholic is in “control” of his alcohol use, that alcohol abuse is an empowering, rather than self harming behavior. Alcohol use bolsters and supports a fragile ego, and lack of self esteem.
In the hope of finding a magic cure for alcoholism, many researchers have attempted to discover a genetic basis for alcoholism, with a view to using drugs to rectify “imbalances” and thus bring about a “cure”. Brain chemistry of course plays a part in the definition and expression of the personality traits of an alcoholic, but science stops short in its enquiries at the point of clinical observation. The scientific method and approach towards the treatment of alcoholism isolates and identifies the mechanisms that represent the influence of alcohol in the brain. Unfortunately, understanding the “mechanics” of any form of drug addiction is of no practical value when it comes to comprehending why a person “chooses” to continue with a self harming behavior rather than simply stop.
With alcoholism, as with all drug abuse, the answers are to be found in the relational dynamics of the user’s emotional life. Using alcohol in preference to other substances or developing enhanced relationships happens because using alcohol satisfies an emotional need.
Essential to the development of alcohol addiction is that users find alcohol use rewarding. Indeed, for many alcoholics the promise and reward of getting a drink is the focal point in their life. The alcoholic personality is able to cope with temporary and enforced abstinence when social constraints enforce it. However, as emotional tensions build, enforced abstinence tends to lead to binge drinking, or an extended “bender”.
Around 75% of Canadians today routinely drink alcohol and make it a part of their life, Canadians use alcohol at all socio economic levels, come from all walks of life, most are social drinkers. What do alcoholics have in common that causes a compulsive need to drink alcohol to excess.
To the alcoholic, alcohol use provides a satisfying and dependable “relationship”. The compulsive nature of alcoholism suggests a deeply rooted emotional need for such a controllable and reliable satisfaction.
A need for love and to be loved when forced to displace into substitute satisfactions is always hungry and looking for that all encompassing “love” that is missing, often accompanied by feelings of inadequacy, guilt, unworthiness and shame – self blame for the failure of an early childhood environment to provide the child with proper nurture and care.
Alcohol provides satisfaction for love made hungry – reproducing the bliss of a nurturing environment, instantly and reliably. Alcohol knocks out our stress burdened frontal cortex, and fills our emotional hunger. Alcohol is non-demanding, provides instant gratification. That is why people become alcoholics, and won’t give up the bottle. Alcohol recreates the fantasy of infantile omnipotence.
Many alcoholics suffer unnecessarily for years simply because they lack the courage, and lack support to give up alcohol and face their emotional pain.
Any alcoholic who doubts the validity of an emotional basis for alcoholism, one that encompasses all of the apparently diverse, and sometimes contradictory behaviors of people with alcohol addiction, needs only to abstain, when in need of a drink, and then name their emotional feelings. Even if unable to cope with his feelings, the alcoholic will at least then know the emotions that he intended to avoid by his alcohol drinking.
Narconon alcohol addiction recovery programs *** understand completely the profound feelings generated when a person feels unloved and unworthy, the adoption of guilt and shame instead of being the happy, confident person that we all have the potential to be.
Narconon, through its emotionally supportive and challenging lifestyle programs enables alcoholics to give up alcohol dependence and recreate new pathways towards self love and self respect. The mind and emotions start to heal by using positive thought processes, in place of alcoholic gloom and negativity.
Don’t wait until life steps in and shatters the omnipotent illusion that alcohol addiction creates. Get help from Narconon today, to throw that bottle out, and begin a new life of self respect, integrity and harmony, free of the negative personality traits of an alcoholic.