At what point is something the effect of mental illness versus the effect of a character defect? There is some overlap, it seems. For example, I just can’t seem to get to work on time. It’s a thing. It’s frustrating, and it’s embarrassing. It’s a real issue for me, and not a result of a false belief but rather my lack of discipline in the morning (which is perhaps attributed to my ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type diagnosis). Regardless of the reason for the behavior, I need to be accommodated for it at work with a flexible arrival time.
I believe that, to truly heal and improve my life circumstances, I need to address my character defects along with my symptoms.
Medications can help with behavioral issues that we’re trying to change (if there is a neurological reason behind the issue, i.e. skin picking), but only to an extent. Self-awareness is key, along with a willingness to change. But how do we gain that self-awareness, and how do we make those changes?
12-step programs, such as Marijuana Anonymous, specifically address character defects in a systematic way. They even have “conduct worksheets” for completing a moral inventory as a part of the step work. I think of 12-step programs like “repentance programs” – they literally help you take the steps necessary to repent from your sins.
I would strongly recommend a 12-step program to anyone who has a desire to stop using. It’s a clear path for gaining the self-awareness necessary for lasting personal change. More, attending meetings can help with loneliness and isolation. There are now many meetings held online via Zoom. In larger programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, there is an online meeting available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.