What are Character Defects and How Do You Confront Them in Recovery

What are Character Defects and How Do You Confront Them in Recovery?

In addiction recovery, there are many new terms and phrases for you to learn. These phrases are meant to help you overcome something that is getting in the way of your progress. For example, “character defects” is a term used to describe negative traits or behaviors that contribute to substance abuse.

Some of the most common examples of character defects include selfishness, dishonesty, impulsiveness, and control issues. Allowing these behaviors and traits to continue will make it harder for you to be successful in sobriety. Thankfully, there are ways to confront and overcome them to make positive improvements.

The easiest ways to overcome your character defects include attending therapy, working through the 12 steps, setting goals, and creating positive habits in your life.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What the term “character defect” means in addiction recovery
  • Common examples of character defects to be aware of
  • How to overcome negative traits and behaviors to improve your progress in sobriety

What are Character Defects in Addiction Recovery?

Character defects are flaws in your behaviors or personality traits that create problems in your life. In regard to addiction, these traits make it harder to recover and exacerbate your addictive behaviors. For example, being impulsive makes it more difficult to avoid succumbing to triggers for substance abuse.

While everyone has flaws, working to overcome them will improve your quality of life and make sobriety easier to maintain. Having self-awareness and being committed to personal growth will make you less inclined to pick up a drink or a drug. Additionally, you will experience less of the negative emotions that make you want to abuse substances in the first place.

The term “character defects” originates from 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These programs are all about self-growth that helps you maintain sobriety. During the 12 steps, you will be asked to confront these character flaws by creating a fearless moral inventory, allowing you to work through them with your higher power.

Common Character Defects that Affect Progress

If you struggle with addiction, it’s important to identify negative traits that could be hindering your progress. Sometimes, it can be hard to identify them if you do not know what to look for, but most people in addiction recovery suffer from similar traits and behaviors that must be addressed.

Common examples of character defects that can negatively impact your recovery include:

  • Denial – being unable to recognize the severity of your addiction, actions, thoughts, or behaviors.
  • Selfishness – prioritizing your needs over others when it is harmful to do so
  • Impulsivity – acting without considering the consequences, which can contribute to experiencing a relapse or hurting others around you with your actions
  • Dishonesty – lying or manipulating others to cover for substance abuse, negative behaviors, and more.
  • Control Issues – needing to control situations or other people, which often leads to stress and can contribute to substance abuse
  • Isolation – avoiding social interactions with others for various reasons, leading to loneliness and depression that can trigger cravings for drugs and alcohol
  • Perfectionism – striving for perfection where it is unneeded, leading to feelings of failure that can be a trigger for substance abuse

While many of these traits are incredibly common, they all make you more likely to experience a relapse. For this reason, addiction treatment centers and 12-step programs help you address character defects to make long-term recovery attainable.

How to Overcome Character Defects in Sobriety

Overcoming negative personality traits can be incredibly difficult, especially without support. There are a few different ways to make it easier to get rid of character traits like dishonesty, selfishness, or impulsivity.

Attend Therapy

Whether you are still in an addiction treatment program or have just completed one, therapy is a great tool for changing negative patterns of thought and behavior. Your therapist will help you identify the character defects that are affecting your life. Then, you will begin learning how to make positive changes in your life through practice and healthy coping mechanisms.

Work the 12-Steps

The 12 steps of AA or NA will offer you a step-by-step manual on how to improve your life and overcome negative character traits that contribute to addiction at the same time. For example, the 4th step of the program involves taking an inventory of wrongdoings. During this time, you will be able to identify what character defects you struggle with.

Then, in step 5, you will admit your wrongdoings to yourself, your sponsor, and your higher power. Doing this causes you to accept the negative traits you struggle with, making it easier for you to work towards overcoming them.

Set Goals and Taking Action

Once you have identified your character flaws, you should make specific goals that promote improvement. For example, if you suffer from selfishness, it would be good to create a goal that involves doing things for other people when you’d rather focus on yourself. As a result, you might find that helping others gives you just as much satisfaction, making it easier to overcome selfishness altogether.

Get Connected to a Highly-Rated Sober Living Program

If you or a loved one has recently completed addiction treatment, you might want to consider a sober living program. These recovery housing opportunities make the transition from facility living to independence much easier. You will have access to support from your peers, guidance from a house manager, and a level of accountability that is helpful in early sobriety.

At New You Sober Living, we understand how difficult it can be to assimilate back into everyday life. Contact us now to begin your recovery journey today.

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