While in general most of us accept that no person can be considered perfect, a recovering alcoholic, myself included, often perceives his individual defects as “game-breaking”. After rehabilitation, one of the challenges sobriety posed was learning how to acknowledge these flaws and not panic at the sudden realization that they exist.
Believe me, it’s no walk in the park to realize that you’re profoundly human and that you may blame yourself for not seeing the flaws sooner. The guilt can be overwhelming and, if not dealt with soon, depression is sure to follow. I assume you all know by now that depression is one of the main factors that trigger a relapse, so you understand the gravity of the situation.
Why Are Your Character Flaws So Obvious Only Now?
Drinking, and I don’t mean in moderation, tends to alter your perception of the world around you and the people in it, but most importantly of yourself. There’s a false impression of clarity that develops once your blood alcohol reaches a certain threshold, which will eventually replace your discernment even when you’re not completely smashed. As you spiral down into alcoholism, it’s easy to overlook what’s wrong with you, as booze tends to shift the blame for potential misfortunes towards other people.
However, once the “beer goggles” wane and sobriety becomes your principle state of being, you will be shocked to learn how incredibly human you are, character flaws included. They’re not worse than anybody else’s, but they’re your defects that means no one’s to blame but you, right?
Acceptance and its Role in the Recovery
As previously mentioned, during my first moments out of rehab I began to realize how incredibly selfish, arrogant, prideful, cynical, and dishonest I had been in my drinking days. The shame was unbearable and I was wondering why my wife hadn’t abandoned me yet, why my parents hadn’t disowned me and why my friends were still talking to me. Truth be told, this realization drove me to the brink of a breakdown.
Therapy and support groups helped me understand two important things about character defects and the “painful” sensation accompanying them. For one thing, an individual who does not process the concept of his own flaws and the unpleasantness it generates is very unlikely to change his ways.
The second epiphany I had was even better, because it provided me with the relief I need to avert depression. Basically, a person is not required to become a saint post rehab. You’re not aiming to become the role model of the future generations. As long as you are willing to work towards improving your character and become a respectable member of your family and your community, nobody will ever ask for more.