What is an Addictive Personality?



I say it all the time (by way of excuse), “I have an addictive personality.”  I am the woman, after all, who transferred my yen for white wine to a daily gunnysack of dime-store candy. When I put a stop to that, I found a way to burgeon a Jones for frozen grapes. It’s 4 a.m. and I’m awake, thinking about a direct mail letter I need to write today.


Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly…


It’s frustrating to say the least. I know a guy who went from alcoholism (his liver was shot) to cigarettes (he got lung cancer) to – get this – boiled peanuts. He ate boiled peanuts like it was the last day to do so, leaving a trail of shells on table tops, fermenting in coat pockets and littering the floor of his car. It must be why so many recovering alcoholics drink coffee the way they do, or smoke. Addictive personality types have an overwhelming need to fill a bottomless hole…


Addictive Personality Traits

An addictive personality refers to a set of traits, that predispose an individual to developing substance dependence. People with addictive personalities are also at risk of becoming hooked on gambling, food, spending, pornography, exercise, work and codependency. Once, I had a therapist tell me I should become addicted to something good, “like exercise”. (I guess he didn’t read the chapter on exercise anorexia), but Kim says it best, “Mare, you’re addicted to all the bad-for-you stuff…”


The warning signs of an Addictive Personality are as follows:

  • Inability to Control Compulsive Behavior
  • Weak Commitment to Personal Goals
  • Constant Stress and Anxiety
  • Social Alienation and Loneliness
  •  Mood Swings and Negative Self Worth


Check, check, check, check aaaaand check.


What to do?

The experts say the best thing to do to keep addictive behavior under control, is to slow down when the fever hits. Take a long term, reasoned approach to impulses and seek help. But addictive personalities are by nature going to chase the next shiny object, right? I say, “Be vigilant”. For me, awareness is key: there is no problem with freezing some grapes for a sweet, substitute snack, but when the grapes begin to fill a weirdly important need, I begin to reshape my behavior.


For those of you who are reading this and thinking, “Huh? How can anyone be addicted to grapes? I don’t get how can fruit fill a need,”  you do not have an addictive personality.


Worry about something else…


Today I’m not drinking because I am taking a long term, reasoned approach…

How come you’re not drinking?