Character Defects 3 Ways People Hold On to Them

Character Defects: 3 Ways People Hold On to Them

When doing step work as part of Narcotic’s Anonymous (NA), the 4th step is all about doing a personal moral inventory. This is taking a hard look at our character defects. That’s a difficult thing to do, but sometimes it is even harder to let them go once we recognize them for what they are: damaging traits that support addictive behaviors and hinder recovery.

Early recovery work from a drug addiction means writing down that inventory. But what do you do when you have a list that often highlights secrets, painful memories, and ways we’ve damaged ourselves and others? Many people continue to hold on to character defects, not knowing what else to do. Four of the most common reasons that we all hold on to a character defect are:

  • Not recognizing the knee-jerk reaction when our character defect takes over
  • Not knowing what else to replace it with
  • Not knowing what life would look like without it
  • It feels familiar, and the unfamiliar is unchartered and uncomfortable territory

How to Stop Holding on to Character Defects

Character defects on autopilot mean that they are the default stance when a negative situation arises. Depending one a person’s character defect, this may mean reacting with anger, resentment, or fear. By learning to react less to problems that come along, someone is able to turn their character defect into positions of power. This is an important part of what rehab, and the recovery period, is all about. It doesn’t mean that the character defects go completely away, but that they are recognized, and reacted to in a positive way, and not a damaging one.

Strength during recovery comes about by developing character assets that can counteract and override the character defects that have been present for years or decades. This isn’t something that happens overnight. It is a long-term process that involves failures before more and more successes take place. Part of therapy, or group support in NA, is talking about what is working, and what isn’t. Often recovery peers help a person see what their character assets are, by holding up a positive mirror.

Holding on to what feels familiar is another reason that character defects remain strong and active, even though it is causing internal and external pain and damage. Taking an inventory about positive character assets, and then slowly pausing, and reacting from the asset, is another way that someone can continue building both relapse and recovery skills. Just as all people have personal character defects, they also have assets that can be used as powerful tools. Even though these assets may feel strange to use at first, especially when they’ve gone unrecognized or unused for a long time.

Character assets are as powerful as character defects are damaging. Learning to hold on to the assets can be learned, so don’t give up, and give yourself the time and patient that it requires, and accept the support that helps this life-changer!

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

0 thoughts on “Character Defects: 3 Ways People Hold On to Them

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    I had a job offer to be trained as a peer mentor im 16months clean and sober my passion is to help people to find positive things in there life the sad is i discoverd im not to be able to do this i was back to ol behaviors impulsiveness abrupt and almost out of control i dont like that person so i dont work there no more i got scared of myself and behaviors other people were seeing my character defects out of whack i started playing the ol tape back im a failure i dont comprtehend what i here i am mentally ill I run aAA meeting some times it goes smooth some times rough please with you advice thankyou i love bieng clean and sober and knowing that Gods my higher power

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      ol behaviors sneaking up after 18 months clean and sober and how i dont recognize it happening to me till people see it and point it out i dont want to have in my life or learn ways to control it please help

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        The Discovery House says:

        Hello Joanne,

        We know you must be feeling overwhelmed. We are here for you. Please call our addiction specialists and we will assist you in getting the help you need. Call us now at (855) 203-7930.

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