Is Introversion a Character defect?

For recovery discussion
b4tn
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:25 am

Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by b4tn » Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:10 am

I am a classic example of an introvert. Even before alcoholism had become an issue I would much prefer to be alone than to be out in social situations. Its hard to explain but It takes a ton of energy for me to be social and the only way for me to re-charge is for me to have some alone time, watch my favorite tv show, work on my hobbies, or just chill with my dog. One of the many things that identified in my 4th step is I married an extrovert and drinking was my introvert medicine lol. So now that I am sober for over a year and working the program I was thinking this morning on my way to work that I am opposite of many people in the rooms. I hear lots of stories about active alcoholism being lonely, isolating, and having to get out with the fellowship to stay sober. Many recovering alcoholics are very social people that get together a lot and love doing things together. Its like a bar with no alcohol ha ha. I am quiet and prefer to just listen and keep to myself. I always hated going to bars because they where to crowded and noisy! Before I started drinking alone I drank with friends in small groups at home or out to dinner. If we went out to a bar or a club I had to double down to tolerate it. It got me to thinking, I do enjoy showing up 30 minutes early and staying 30 minutes late to meetings and sharing my day with my fellow AA Friends but thats about my social limit. I know I cannot do this on my own and need the support of my home group this is very evident to me. I will do the occasional event but I usually cant wait to get home and have some quiet time to re-charge. So is my personality type a character defect? Those of you out there that are introverts how do you feel about this subject? My sponsor is an extreme extrovert and tells me I need to do more AA functions (I already do 5-6 meetings a week), sit up front, share more, etc to get over being introverted but I feel like thats against the grain and maybe its just who I am and not a character defect. Thoughts?

DesignatedDriver
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:20 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by DesignatedDriver » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:25 am

I guess it depends on what sort of introversion we're talking about.

If we mean introversion in meetings then I can see how that might be problematic. I always found it best to share at meetings rather than just listen and I often found that the folk who rarely shared and preferred to stay silent in meetings were often the ones who'd relapse. Like most worthwhile things in life, you get out of AA what you put into it.

But if we're talking about more general social introversion away from meetings then I can 100% relate to your post and I'd say there's nothing wrong with it at all. I'm an introvert by nature, I never really liked people very much when I was a kid. I couldn't really be bothered with the hassle of friends or large social gatherings, I just wanted to be left alone. From the age of 15 to 34 when I was drinking a lot of those social anxieties and introversions were artificially suppressed and drinking was the only way I could really bear a lot of those situations. But when I stopped drinking I gradually felt no need to put myself in those situations anymore and I was reintroduced to my old introverted self. And that's absolutely fine because that's who I really am.

In Scotland where I live we have these things called mountain bothies. They are extremely basic old small stone buildings that can sometimes be found in the vast expanses of our natural mountain wilderness. They have no electricity but do have open fireplaces. The doors are left open and they are free to be used as shelter for the night by passing weary hikers. At new years eve (or Hogmanay as we call it) instead of attending crowded parties with lots of other people, I now hike up into the mountains alone through the snow carrying supplies for the night including coal and spend the night in a bothy with the fire roaring, me sleeping on the hard floor with not another living soul for miles around. And I absolutely love it. Nobody's going to tell me there's anything wrong with that :D

User avatar
positrac
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1306
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by positrac » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:36 am

Comfort level is what I see you as and I can relate! I never cared for formal events and if I was late I'd just not go because of the fear of attention and or having to explain myself. I see nothing wrong with me time as long as Me and My Mind don't start thinking about things that can get me in trouble!

In time I believe you will find that right balance of everything and it is one day at a time.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

b4tn
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:25 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by b4tn » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:57 am

Thanks, that makes me feel better. I was starting to think I am going to have to train myself to enjoy tons of social interaction to stay sober. I always share (even though I hate getting called on lol), never turn down an opportunity to chair meetings, and also volunteer a lot for jobs that are needing help in my home group. Those mountain bothies sound amazing!

tomsteve
Forums Contributor
Posts: 431
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by tomsteve » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:49 am

So is my personality type a character defect?

no. personally i think introversion being an asset. people that are comfortable by themselves and can experience solitude and serenity being by themselves have a quality that is awesome.
i like going to concerts,ball games,etc but they wear me out. even large meetings can drain me. i prefer smaller-10-15 people meetings.

User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
Posts: 3831
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Brock » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:18 pm

I am very pleased that the replies have made it quite clear it’s not a defect, it’s a choice, one which many people prefer. Two other points I would like to give an opinion on -
I hear lots of stories about active alcoholism being lonely, isolating, and having to get out with the fellowship to stay sober.
If that were the case, alcoholics living in areas with few other alcoholics around wouldn’t make it, I am tempted to go further and say whoever put in your mind what you say here - “I know I cannot do this on my own and need the support of my home group,” has given you the wrong impression, but then I am assuming you have completed the steps and living in the solution. A solution which does not necessarily call for meetings, and certainly does not call for having to mix socially with others, whether alcoholics or ‘normal’ folks.
My sponsor is an extreme extrovert and tells me I need to do more AA functions (I already do 5-6 meetings a week), sit up front, share more, etc to get over being introverted but I feel like thats against the grain and maybe its just who I am and not a character defect.
Of those here who have completed the steps, and I hope you have by now, (if not please do so), I have never seen anyone say they still go to so many meetings, that sort of attendance is recommended at the start, and most of us speak about 2 – 3 per week. Not saying anything is wrong with it if you enjoy that many meetings, but hoping it’s not just because of sponsors advise that you go that often. As for the other sponsor recommendations about sitting up front, sharing more and attending more AA functions, well that’s not what I believe sponsors are there for, and it sounds like she is trying to mold you into a copy of herself, instead of having the common sense to see we are all different.

Sorry about going on a bit about this, it’s just that we see a good number of stories here where sponsors overstep their bounds, their job is to help you through the steps, not try to change the way the sponsee chooses to live.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

User avatar
positrac
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1306
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by positrac » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:59 pm

b4tn wrote:Thanks, that makes me feel better. I was starting to think I am going to have to train myself to enjoy tons of social interaction to stay sober. I always share (even though I hate getting called on lol), never turn down an opportunity to chair meetings, and also volunteer a lot for jobs that are needing help in my home group. Those mountain bothies sound amazing!
You learn what is necessary and game face it and then if you enjoy it then enjoy, and if not then hit the door and roll!

I am of the opinion that if the right and left hand are clueless; then you are doing the right things. You know the coffee is made and yet no one ever asks who made it unless it is totally nasty! Keep up the good work.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.

ediebob
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:06 pm
Location: Richardson, TX

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by ediebob » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:38 pm

This is my first posting on this forum, and I understand that it may be delayed until a moderator approves it.
I, too, am more of an introvert on the introvert/extrovert continuum. That basically means that in group settings, I tend to lose energy and get it back by being in solitude. An extrovert is exactly the opposite. It is not a character defect, just a personality trait. I notice that introverts tend to be solitary drinkers, and extroverts tend to be bar drinkers.
In the first meetings I attended 21 years ago, I was petrified I would be called on to share, and certainly didn't have anything in the way of experience, strength and hope. In the ensuing time and after experiencing the process of the steps, I was able to willingly share.

Layne
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 1625
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:20 am
Location: British Virgin Islands

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Layne » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:04 am

I am not anti-social, but I will never be confused with being a social butterfly either. Before working the twelve steps, I was not comfortable in my own skin and so I wasn't comfortable around other people either. It is no wonder that I drank. In sobriety, I finally became comfortable in my own skin, which led to me being comfortable around other people. What a gift. Even so, I still need my alone time with me, myself, and I.

Being an introvert is not a character defect. I know a lot of people that are not comfortable in their own company, they need other people around all the time. I feel blessed that I am not that way. Our true character is defined what we do, when no one is watching. Paying attention to what I do when no one is watching, shines light on potential areas for improvement. It is all good.

KathyAnne
Forums Contributor
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:13 am
Location: England

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by KathyAnne » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:57 pm

I’m fairly outgoing and chatty but after a few years now I’m happy in my own company & at peace within, amazing thanks to the steps. Sometimes in the rooms the old me would have socialised with everyone & I learnt I was seeking validation & approval not anymore thankfully I feel free today in just being myself and not trying with others. I share regularly but have to force myself to do it,I do loads of service too. I wouldn’t say Introversoin is a CD
Just for today I have a full and thankfull heart.

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Tosh » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:26 pm

DesignatedDriver wrote: In Scotland where I live we have these things called mountain bothies. They are extremely basic old small stone buildings that can sometimes be found in the vast expanses of our natural mountain wilderness. They have no electricity but do have open fireplaces. The doors are left open and they are free to be used as shelter for the night by passing weary hikers. At new years eve (or Hogmanay as we call it) instead of attending crowded parties with lots of other people, I now hike up into the mountains alone through the snow carrying supplies for the night including coal and spend the night in a bothy with the fire roaring, me sleeping on the hard floor with not another living soul for miles around. And I absolutely love it. Nobody's going to tell me there's anything wrong with that :D
What a brilliant thing to do. We have bothies in Wales too; in the Brecon Beacons.

I wish I'd thought of it.

It's on the list for next year; thank you.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Tosh » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:37 pm

b4tn wrote: I need to do more AA functions (I already do 5-6 meetings a week), sit up front, share more, etc to get over being introverted but I feel like thats against the grain and maybe its just who I am and not a character defect. Thoughts?
I can be an extrovert; this can be a character defect because my extroversion is often fear-driven and is based in self centredness. I'm okay with that; I'm not meant to be perfect.

But it can also be useful to other people too. I find that my extroversion does help me to speak up and let's alkies know that I'm more than willing to be of assistance too.

I'd guess introversion or extroversion; these things are like bricks. You can build a temple with them, or smash someone in the face with them.

There's a good Ted Talk called 'The Power of Introversion' which shows it's not a character defect, but it also shouldn't be an excuse to avoid and isolate yourself.

Five-or-six meetings a week is a lot, btw. I do two, my homegroup and meeting up with someone I'm going through the steps with (a sponsee). If I'm not actively sponsoring, I'll go to another meeting to go looking for one. But I have a family, I run with a local running club and regularly go to the gym; I also have a hobby which is turning into a business as well as working full-time.

I have A.A. to thank for giving me a busy and fulfilling life.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

User avatar
PaigeB
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 8070
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by PaigeB » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:43 pm

I'd guess introversion or extroversion; these things are like bricks. You can build a temple with them, or smash someone in the face with them.
You Tosh ~ You crack me up. But I have to say, for me this is True. I am trying to build a temple and I haven't thrown a brick in a while... Wait. Maybe I have. I thought I was being subtle, nagging my adult son. When I nagged him yesterday I said, "I think I have briefly mentioned this..." and he said, "Several times Mom."

I will have to accept who I am and where I am right now - a hopeless extrovert with an inability to keep my mouth shut. However subtle I think I am being - others might still see a brick headed at their face. :shock:
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

User avatar
Tosh
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 3743
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 10:43 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Tosh » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:28 am

PaigeB wrote:
I'd guess introversion or extroversion; these things are like bricks. You can build a temple with them, or smash someone in the face with them.
You Tosh ~ You crack me up.
It's a line from the film 'Chariots of Fire' that stuck with me, along with "You can glorify God by peeling a potato if you peel it to perfection."

Though I fully accept we shouldn't use the word 'perfection' in that context around alkies. :lol:
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Steveaholic
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:21 am

Re: Is Introversion a Character defect?

Post by Steveaholic » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:17 am

My problem was that I was an introvert who wanted to be an extrovert. I was always the one hiding at the back of the class at school. I blushed if anyone spoke to me and then I had my first drink and it was ‘look at me!!!’ . It was love at first drink. I loved to be the centre of attention when I had a drink. That only lasted a few years though and then the drink stopped working. When I eventually stopped drinking and attended AA it was absolute hell for me to share. I would tremble and stutter but I persevered because I wanted to get better.I still have some social anxiety and I still hate reading in meetings. My sharing comes a lot easier. Acceptance of myself is part of the answer. I will never do stand up. I accept that now. I have to admit though when I feel ‘spiritually well’ I like to be around people more. I think that I was always spiritually sick. I always felt as if I didn’t belong. I didn’t have that connection with other people.When I feel grateful, or give something in some way to another alcoholic,I sometimes feel easier with other people . I enjoy company more.

I will never be on the stage at a big convention. The big difference from the past is that I accept that, that is part of me. Part of who I am. At one time , I would have been jealous of the speakers. Wanted to be like them. Today, I am a bit more comfortable being me.

Post Reply