April 7

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 7: “In order to be profoundly dishonest, a person must have one of two qualities: either he is unscrupulously ambitious, or he is unswervingly egocentric. He must believe that for his ends to be served all things and people can justifiably be shifted about, or that he is the center not only of his own world but of the worlds which others inhabit.”― Maya Angelou

“Unswervingly egocentric”…omg! Isn’t that the real story? I believe it is. In all the world, that 2-word phrase is the crux of addict’s personality disorder.

See, I have recognized a long thread that runs through addiction. It is the thread of some kind of abuse in a culture that creates the environment where addiction thrives. It has many forms, but every addict I have ever met is brushed with it. The brush may have been applied heavily or subtly, but its effects are to create that kind of self-obsessed person who becomes an addict.

We recognize that addiction is a mental illness. We also recognize that addicts are selfish and self-centered in the extreme. I see the formation of character defects as being a product of protection a child adapts in order to “protect” themselves in the face of abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc. These adaptations are known as Ego defenses. And they work to separate the addict from everyone else. Believing we are cut off from others is part of the formation of the addict’s response to everything.

From there we see the development of “unswerving egocentricity.”

When we are working on Step 4, most of us do not see this pattern of behavior. But, as the BB speaks about, it is imperative that we get down to “causes and conditions.” This is the pattern. We then go into the steps that will free us from those behaviors that keep us from our fellows. But we MUST understand the underlying story that goes into the formation of those responses, or we cannot make that shift. We must learn to reframe our stories to relearn new ways of responding to life. To open instead of guarding ourselves from danger all the time.

Life is NOT dangerous. That is a story. It is ultimately fatal, but that is not punishment, just the nature of life. It begins and ends. But living in protective custody by Self is pure hell. And we make it so. We are not victims of life, but only of Ego. And it keeps us from becoming anything like what we are here to be. And we are the gatekeepers, no one and nothing else.  

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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