Mental Help Net
Basic Information
What is Addiction?What Causes Addiction?How Do You Get Addicted?Signs and Symptoms of AddictionTreatment for AddictionReferencesResourcesFrequentlly Asked Questions about Addiction
TestsLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersBlog EntriesVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Roger Watts, Ph.D.Roger P. Watts, Ph.D.
A blog about alcohol and other drug addictions and how to obtain lifelong recovery.

Recovery: Blocks and Assets

Roger P. Watts, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 25th 2013

woman thinkingRecovery from addiction involves the life-long process of balancing those things that block a person from reaching their full potential against personal assets that can offset those blockages. The 12 Step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) call blockages to recovery "character defects," and those things that are assets are called "spiritual principles." These character defects and spiritual principles are usually uncovered in a recovering person's personal inventory that is part of Step Four of the 12 Step program.

Here are some of the aspect of our personality that can be blockages to recovery and the corresponding asset (principle) that might be used to check it:

  • Minimizing problems; Being realistic about oneself (Honesty)
  • Blaming others for problems; Taking responsibility for actions (Integrity)
  • Isolating; Socializing with recovering people (Communality)
  • Acting childishly and impulsively; Acting mature and sensibly (Discipline)
  • Demanding of self and others; Having reasonable expectations (Patience)
  • Playing it safe; Trusting others and taking risks (Trust)
  • Not asking for help; Reaching out to others for help (Courage)
  • Rigid thinking; Willingness to try new ways (Willingness)
  • Negative attitude; Positive attitude (Faith)
  • Self-pity; Gratitude for life (Gratitude)
  • Resentfulness or anger; Forgiveness and peace of mind (Compassion)
  • Focusing on outside problems; Focusing on treatment remedies (Introspection)
  • Ignoring what others say; Listening to others (Respect)
  • Not being in touch with feelings; In touch with and sharing feelings (Humility)

So often, we get bogged down in the trivial pursuit of short term gain that comes from focusing on trying to fight against negative, problematical areas of our lives. We often get overwhelmed by these negative forces and it becomes increasingly difficult to marshal the assets we have that can combat them.

But, there is hope. Recovering people did not become addicted in one day, so they often need to know that recovery cannot happen in one day either. But, it is possible to put stress on the assets of life, and the more one practices principles the more they become engrained as the dominate part of the personality. Essentially, this notion builds on the idea that a person has a fundamental choice as to how they will discover and address problems in their life. They can allow the negative forces to define the problem and, thereby, allow the blockage to rise that will prevent a healthy outcome. Or, the person can view the problem differently, acting out of confidence that the spiritual principle they hold will be able to address the problem. This choice is restored to the recovering person gradually each day that they remain clean and sober.


Roger P. Watts, Ph.D.

Dr. Roger P. Watts, Ph.D., a psychologist and licensed alcohol and drug counselor, operates and currently provides substance abuse counseling to dozens of alcoholics and addicts. He has 23 years experience delivering health care to hundreds of patients through individual, group, and online counseling services. He has been in recovery himself for 24 years. He lives and works in Saint Paul MN, and can be reached at

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Follow us on Twitter!

Find us on Facebook!

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Powered by CenterSite.Net