Authenticity to me means to be my true self. When I was doing drugs and drinking, I wasn’t the person I once was or who I was raised to be. I was a master at manipulation and didn’t reveal to others my true thoughts or feelings because I didn’t want others to use it against me or to hurt me. Since getting sober, Ive been working on the character defect of people pleasing which I have been really struggling with. When I am using, I am selfish and not worried about how my actions affect others. I don’t care about my family’s thoughts or feelings even though they are the only ones who care about me when I am in the act of addiction. Being selfish is not my authentic self, but neither is the other extreme of being too codependent with my peers. It is often difficult for me to be authentic because it is hard for me to show that I am vulnerable. I often hold my feelings of sadness inside as I do not want to feel like I am being judged as weak. However, I know that being vulnerable only shows strength. I also have the tendency to change the things that I say based on whoever it is I am talking to. It is important for me to be reminded of my defects so that I am aware and am able to take the appropriate actions necessary to change my behaviors. My behaviors are still a work in progress, but I am working on being real, showing my true emotions as they are in the moment and not going from one extreme to the other.
My authentic self is a loving, caring and compassionate person. Sometimes I lose track of my authenticity due to resentments and character defects. What I know about my authentic self is that I need to work on any issues that arise because it will have an effect on how I represent myself. Sometimes I struggle with being direct and assertive and with no effort at all I am able to stand up and take accountability for my own doings. In my addiction, it seemed to be that my assets were really flaws due to people taking advantage of my authentic self. My authentic self did not do much good for me in active addiction. Working on authenticity in recovery can still be a struggle but it helps when you have the support from people who really care and who are real and authentic with you.
Being truly authentic can be very difficult for me at times. As someone who is newly sober, I have been living my life in deception and manipulation. I survived as long as I did by being a chameleon, putting on a mask and using my character defects in self-serving ways. I have been living as a false version of myself for so long that it’s really hard to try and connect with things that probably come easily to other people. Such as knowing what I truly believe in, understanding how I feel, and identifying emotions. Through groups at South Orange County Detox & Treatment I’ve learned about authenticity and character defects and I’ve realized the extreme amount of selfish interactions I’ve had on a day to day basis while I was using. These days, I’m so focused on trying to live in gratitude, empathy, and understanding, that when any negative or confrontational thoughts arise I immediately push them to the side- usually without even realizing it. Recently, when I become aware that I may have a resentment, rational or not, I’m able to recognize it and let it go. One thing I have realized is that I can’t go from one extreme to another. I can’t go from living in selfishness, manipulation, and deception to gratitude, empathy and understanding 100% of the time because neither are authentic or true. I’m trying to use my newly found insight into my character defects to take responsibility for the harm I’ve caused. Being honest and authentic is the catalyst to change. Similarly, to how step 1 of recovery is admitting we have a problem, the transformation from our false self to our real self occurs when we own who we are and our actions rather than pretending to be someone we’re not. By recognizing my character defects I’m able to work on them, let them go, and am one step closer to living a life of authenticity and integrity