Ever since I was a kid I’ve heard the term, alcoholism. With both grandmothers dying in their early fifties of the disease, I suspected I had a pretty decent understanding of what an alcoholic was like.
Once I came into recovery I began hearing my peers talk about an alcoholic personality, or alcoholic tendencies. Aside from the obvious fact that alcoholics lose the ability to control their drinking, what exactly does a comprehensive picture of an alcoholic’s personality look like?
In most cases, alcoholics tend to possess the same personality characteristics as everyone else, with the exception of some traits reaching far more extreme levels.
The first personality trait associated with alcoholism involves a low frustration tolerance. Alcoholics tend to be extremely impatient, especially when things are not going their way. Those with alcoholic tendencies are more impulsive than others and strive on instant gratification.
Most alcoholics are more sensitive than others, which produces struggles with interpersonal relationships. Those struggling with untreated alcoholism carry a “low rejection threshold.” They admit feeling separate from or left out, thus why a drink provides a temporary relief to those feelings of separation. An alcoholic’s sensitivity does, however, give them the ability to be highly creative individuals. Alcoholism seems to choose gifted people who possess the ability to achieve marvelous endeavors. In fact, most literature Nobel Prize winners battled alcoholism.
In addition to feelings of irritability, sensitivity and separation, most untreated alcoholics possess a low perception of self-worth. Until they recover, alcoholics seem to carry an abundance of guilt and shame, while they have a hard time letting go of things that happened in the past. Untreated alcoholics or “dry drunks” live in a constant state of self-pity and self-loathing, driven by fear. They prefer isolation, and have a difficult time trusting anyone with their innermost thoughts.
While most alcoholics possess charming, articulate and persuasive personality traits, they function closed off behind a protective shell suffering from the delusion that this keeps them safe. Afraid of intimacy, as well as their peers finding out exactly who they are, alcoholics are masters at playing whichever stage character they feel necessary in any given situation.
When an alcoholic comes into recovery, that wall that kept the world out is broken down. Recovering alcoholics begin to look at life from a different perspective. Over time, these individuals develop a whole new way of living. Beliefs and characteristics which were once the guiding forces of these men and women are cast to one side as a new perspective emerges.
If you or someone you love is an alcoholic, call us at 800-951-6135.