This is important; These behaviors are coping mechanisms not personality traits. They have emerged through drinking and drugging with a disease that changes the way they think and act. Nor did they ‘choose’ to ruin their lives.
Most alcoholics and addicts become responsible, sensitive, compassionate and honest people in recovery through the 12 Steps of their Fellowship.
Denial. Addicts often deny that there is an addiction. Denial is a way to ignore or dismiss the idea of addiction and avoid seeing a problem. Sometimes, addicts will acknowledge being addicted, but nevertheless dismiss the significance of the addiction. Cigarette smoking is a good example of an addiction that people readily acknowledge, but frequently do nothing about. They deny the reality of the addiction. Overcoming denial is always the first step in treatment of addictions.
Selfishness. Addictions make people selfish and blind them. Nothing is more important than the addiction itself. Everything is geared towards getting the dependence met, and the deeper into addiction the greater the selfishness.
Covert Behavior. Addictive behaviors eventually become a source of concern for others. Consequently, in order to meet the needs of the addiction, addicts often hide their behaviors from others. Addicts are often sneaky, running the gamut from hidden drug use and illicit sex, to drinkers who hide their alcohol, smokers who sneak cigarettes, and people who hide their eating.
Irresponsible and Undependable. In the throes of addiction, addicts must pay far more attention to the needs of their addiction than the needs of anyone or anything else. Accordingly, addicts often become unable to meet social expectations and responsibilities, whether in school, work, relationships, or social roles.
Illegal and Criminal Behaviors. Of course, many addictions are against the law in the first place. In addition, in the case of certain addictions the addict has to commit criminal acts in order to get the substance or engage in the activity. Much street, computer, and white collar crime is directed toward meeting the needs of addiction.
Dangerous and Risky Behaviors. Because of the antisocial, and sometimes illegal, nature of many addictions, addicts often have to engage in dangerous behaviors to satisfy their needs. This may mean using a dirty needle, getting street drugs, going to an unsafe part of town, interacting with dangerous people, or engaging in some other activity that is inherently dangerous in order to support the addiction. And this also means using substances like nicotine which are carcinogenic and have a major impact on respiration and the cardiovascular system, and eating in a way that paves the way for, and directly causes, multiple physical problems. These too are dangerous and risky behaviors.
These are behaviors they subconsciously improvise to grapple with their deteriorating lives.