Some of us have addictive personalities and they can feel overwhelming. When you think of an addictive personality, you tend to think of an addict. Alcoholics and drug addicts certainly have addictive personalities.
I am not an addict, but I have traits of one in some ways. There is an element of my personality that is addictive when it comes to buying things and compulsively texting people. I can feel the dopamine being released when I do things like spend money on Amazon or let out a bunch of emotions via text message. I act before I think sometimes, and it can be overwhelming to people just like substance abuse is all encompassing to the people dealing with it.
Addictive personalities are riddled with stigma. We are told that addicts are destructive and ruin the lives of people around them. But what if I told you that there is a positive side to having an addictive personality? Well, there is and I’m going to show you how to use your addictive personality for good.
Having an addictive personality means that you are fixated on a substance or activity because it fulfills you. Here’s the trick to turning that attribute into something positive: find something that makes you feel good and adds value to your life. Once you’ve figured out what that productive and positive thing is, put your passionate energy into doing that very thing and doing it well.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a passion for eradicating the stigma around people living with mental illness; find your local NAMI chapter and volunteer there. Organize events in your community where people have the opportunity to join your cause.
Perhaps you are a dramatic person, and you enjoy public speaking. Think about a time in your life when you made it through something incredibly challenging. Record yourself speaking into your phone or on your computer. You can practice your speech many times before you perfect it. Then start volunteering to speak at places that need speakers, like schools, community centers, churches or residential treatment facilities. If you’re passionate about imparting your wisdom in a dramatic way, public speaking is a great field to put your drive into.
That’s the thing about an addictive personality; it needs to be channeled into productive activities. You can focus intensely on something that makes you feel good about yourself and your life.
Here’s what I challenge you to do:
- Make a list of things that you enjoy.
- Pick the thing you love the most
- Think about a way that you can do that thing A LOT and FOR FUN.
- Do the thing!
Having an addictive personality doesn’t mean that you are a bad person to be around. It actually makes you unique for other people. As someone with an addictive personality, you have a lot of drive that needs to be channeled in a positive direction. I believe in you, and I want YOU to believe in you.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.