Contrary to popular belief, getting sober is not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. Think about it – you’ve got people from different backgrounds, different habits, different socioeconomic status, different personality, etc. Drug addiction does not only affect one type of person, but it can also latch on and affect anyone.
So, what does all that mean when it comes to getting sober? It means that each person will have his or her own triumphs and struggles while getting sober. And, this is especially true when referring to varied personality traits, such as those who are introverts and those considered to be extroverts.
These personality traits affect many things we do in life – including getting sober.
Are You Introverted or Extroverted?
You’ve likely heard reference to Carl Jung’s personality types many times throughout your life – introvert and extrovert. Perhaps you even completed personality quizzes in school that helped you better determine what path you should take in life. While you may know very well what these two personality types mean, let’s take a moment to define them.
An introvert is someone who tends to be more inward. They are deep thinkers with many thoughts, emotions, and moods that they keep inside. Often, these individuals are considered to be shy or even meek. They often prefer to be alone or with a small group of friends and learn by watching and observing.
An extrovert, on the other hand, is someone who is very social and often shows outward expression. He or she may have no issues sharing thoughts, opinions, and feelings. They typically have no hesitation in meeting new people or engaging in sharing or large group activities.
Addiction and Introversion
Think about it – your struggle with addiction is a personal struggle, isn’t it? How you have handled it and the choices you have made have been your own. Other than the effects it has left on those around you, your addiction is personal.
And, what a perfect match for an introvert. Those who fall into this end of the psychological personality spectrum are often better at hiding and controlling the addiction behind closed doors. And, the fact that introverts often isolate themselves, there are often fewer eyes to take notice of any changes.
A common trait among many introverts is high levels of anxiety and depression – as well as negative thoughts. And, unfortunately, this often leads to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Then, due to the quiet nature of their habits, it can easily turn into an addiction. This is commonly seen among addiction specialists.
Not every introvert suffers from anxiety (or depression) and not every introvert will self-medicate. However, the rate is high enough for professionals to take notice – and seek special ways to treat those who have taken the first step to getting sober.
Addiction and Extroversion
While introverts are at a higher risk, extroverts are just as likely to partake in substance abuse. These individuals are often seen as the life of the party. They want to head out and be social, meeting friends – and new people – everywhere they go.
The continuous routine of happy hour, weekends out on the town, and so forth, can very easily cause an extrovert to become an addict. Extroverts are often found to have a problem with addiction when it comes to alcohol and uppers, such as cocaine, and other party drugs.
Remember, no one is safe from the strongholds of drug addiction.
Sobriety and Introverts
Much attention has been paid to handling an addicted introvert who wants to get sober. So much of getting sober relies on a support network and a solid group – all the things that make introverts want to run away and use. It is important that steps are taken to avoid this at all cost.
There are certain phrases you may hear someone say, such as:
- I am not really into joining groups.
- The program seems too much like a religion.
- I can’t and won’t share my personal feelings.
- These people are much worse than me.
- Being around other addicts will make me want to use.
These are excuses. And, they are often said when there is an underlying case of social anxiety – which is incredibly common among introverts. Getting someone who prefers being alone to actively participate in a group is a challenge.
It is important that introverts participate in a program that is designed to be more intimate. One where he or she will have time for personal reflection. And, one where personal relationships and friendships can develop. This is crucial for a successful recovery.
Facilitators and therapists with empowering abilities will work incredibly well for introverts. Giving that boost in confidence and providing a safe space to share and open up can be very beneficial. Forced participation, on the other hand, can be detrimental.
Sobriety and Extroverts
Extroverts love to speak and share and meet new people. All the things that make many recovery programs a success. So, there are not necessarily any special needs that should be attended to. In fact, when it comes to group therapy and residing in a sober home, extroverts have the opportunity to always be around others.
How They Can Help Each Other
While therapists and addiction professionals should always pay mind to those who are introverts, there is something to be said about individuals helping each other. Spreading knowledge on how addiction affects each personality type can increase awareness. For example, instead of an extrovert thinking that something is wrong with an introvert who is seeking alone time in a sober living situation, he or she can be respectful of the space and accept it as nothing more. At the same time, introverts can learn that those who like to talk and share aren’t just seeking attention – and learn from them.
What comes so easy for some individuals may not for others. Addiction is no exception. When an introvert and an extrovert are facing the same struggle, addressing their needs separately can help them eventually come together in a positive, productive manner.