The idiom “nice guys finish last” gets thrown around quite often nowadays, but it holds a lot more meaning for the addictive personality. You see, as an alcoholic, I often associated the concept of “nice” with boring, dull people. They were often the ones who refused to have another drink, they always accepted the role of the designated driver and they often were the first to leave the party earlier because they “have work in the morning!”
For me, they were the epitome of mind-numbing tediousness. It was only after I was sober for a while that I could see that nice and boring are two distinct, non-intertwined concepts.
A Short Recap of My Personality
After leaving aside the alcohol fueled bravado that my life used to revolve around, I understood that there’s more to this world then drinking until you barf and partying to the wee hours of the morning. I also realized that my behavior during the drunken rampages was far from being socially acceptable.
Was it fun for me? Yes. Was it making me look like a giant ass? Also yes. I was obnoxious, loud, self-centered, opinionated, and definitely argumentative. But underneath all of this, I was pessimistic and insecure to the point where I constantly sought reassurance and attention. I became melancholic and depressive after a certain point, and I was prone to anxiety and self-loathing.
The Nice Guy Archetype
From the description above, it should be obvious that I was the exact opposite of a nice guy and nobody really mistook me for one. In rehab, I learned that I had a pretty characteristic type of addictive personality; it fit the profile perfectly! I also understood that one of the most important steps in my recovery was modifying my behavior and my state of mind. My new goal was to become a nice guy. Was I shocked at the discovery? Yes, but only up to the point when I was able to fully comprehend what nice really means.
In short, my pessimism would have to be replaced by a positive and optimistic perspective with respect to my chances of staying sober, at least. The obsession with myself had to go and I needed to cultivate listening skills, empathy, and tolerance to other people’s points of view. Honesty and assertiveness in my interactions with people were also on the list.
Why is This Transformation So Important?
From the cognitive behavioral perspective, sticking to the conduct and philosophy of the addict is a surefire way to relapse sooner or later. Depression, negativity, and anxiety are fueled by this type of behavior and they hang like millstones around the former addict’s neck. They are unnecessary burdens and, in order to lift your head high enough to see the future, you have to cut them loose.
Word to the wise, nobody will ask you to become the role model of your community or the support pillar of the society. You don’t have to roam the streets saving kittens from trees and old ladies from burning homes.
What you are required to do is to better yourself, improve your character, learn honest and direct methods of interaction and show love and support for your family and friends.