There is always a fine line between stereotype and demonstrated truth. Philosophically, the argument could be cut down to a micro level about whether behaviors create a stereotype or if a stereotype creates behaviors. Either way, there is a relationship between who men are, how men behave, and what other men think about them due to stereotype. Eventually the stereotype becomes a stigma and men’s behaviors are no longer the question, but their value and dignity, their worth, and their status in the eyes of society.
Addiction comes with many different stereotypes, one of which is that men who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are selfish, self-centered, and somewhat narcissistic. All that matters to them is the next drink or the next drug and the consequences of getting that next drink or next drug is completely irrelevant to them. Consequences including jail, legal issues, job issues, relationship issues, or hurting people they truly love.
Stereotype-wise, these behaviors are true. Men who are addicted do have a tendency to act in an entirely selfish way and through years of addiction, their behaviors become hardwired to be self-focused. The nature of a man can’t always be determined by how he acts, however, which is evidenced by the way men are able to change in recovery from addiction. Drugs and alcohol demand every single ounce of attention and behavior in a man’s life. It isn’t so much that he is self-focused but addiction-focused and addiction is the ruler over any of a man’s other desires, wants, or needs- over food, over shelter, over survival, over friends, and over family.
Causes for addiction can be environmental, social, cultural, and genetic. A relatively new frame of thought for what can prime a man for addiction includes his attachment pattern which he develops in early childhood. Lisa Firestone, author of “Conquer Your Critical Voice”, wrote for Huffington Post that vulnerable narcissism can be shaped by attachment patterns. Specifically, anxious, fearful, and avoidant attachment all contribute to elements of narcissism like grandiosity, self-praise, denial of weakness, entitlement, and beyond.
Behaviors inspired by addiction might be inflated by the preexisting wiring created by early childhood attachment patterns which prime the brain to attach to anything which encourages more self-focused behaviors.
Unraveling the story behind addiction helps men learn about their true nature, as well as the nature which has been created for them by the circumstances of their lives.
From the mountains to the coastline, the possibilities of living a life without limits are endless. At Tree House Recovery in Orange County, California, we’re helping men recover their lives from addiction through innovative treatment designed to transform their lives inside and out. For information, call to speak with one of our graduates: (855) 202-2138