INFPs Can Easily Become Addicted – Recovery is Vital

I believe INFPs are particularly prone to addiction due to their sensitive nature and dislike of pain (I had my own problems with alcohol). Addiction can mess up your entire world, and your vision of reality. When your understanding of reality is wrong, it can cause you a lot of confusion about your purpose and ultimately interfere with your career, your family and many other aspects of your life.

The worst part? We rarely know we’re addicted to something, or don’t think it causes any problems for us. A friend of mine recently discovered she was addicted to something. She’s going through a lot of pain right now, so I wrote this for her and think it may benefit other INFPs in similar spots:

Recovering from addiction will cause you to feel tons of pain. You’ve decided that the mask of happiness that you’ve been wearing all these years isn’t enough. You want to be happy with you. You want to be content living your life, playing with your daughter and spending time with your husband. So you’ve started peeling back that mask and found lots of ugly things.

This is likely to cause a lot of pain. Your addiction tells you that you don’t really want this, that it’s too hard, etc. It tells you to just put the mask back on and deal with it later.

The ugly is like a mess that you brush into the closet. It will always be there, waiting to fall on you when you open the closet.

Whenever you walk past the closet, you feel anxious. Eventually you avoid going past the closet. The only way to get rid of the anxiety that is caused when you pass the closet is to face it, open it up, let everything fall out and take the time to clean it.

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the thought of the entire mess. Just clean up one or two items everyday. That’s it. Set a very small and easily achievable goal of one or two a day. The purpose of the small goal is to get you started. You’ll likely do more once you get started. But if you don’t start, it will never get clean, so keep the goal simple.

Then you have to KEEP IT CLEAN. You have to pick up the little things that get dropped on the floor and devote time every once in a while to deal with it when a small mess shows back up. In otherwords, talk about your problems. When someone hurts you, bring it up. Don’t bottle it or you’ll end up with a closet full of crap again. The best way through life is with an clean closet 🙂

Have you or are you dealing with addiction? Do you have any insight into helping other INFPs deal with their festering negative thoughts? Leave a comment to let us know.

13 thoughts on “INFPs Can Easily Become Addicted – Recovery is Vital”

  1. You know, if you’re really an “N” type or “NF” type, it’s unlikely that an “SJ” or extraverted “T” solution like AA is going to help your plight. Instead, I’d sugget finding a positive outlet for your struggles that compensates for your addiction.

    • You are absolutely correct! 100% in my case,anyway. As I just recently discovered the MBTI, I am exploring and researching.

      I have been addicted to drugs and alcohol most of my life. Been through court ordered treatment programs too many times to mention. Tried NA/AA but I find myself extremely resentful of any authority figure trying to tell me what to do.

      At the end of the day, I’m aware that I have a problem. I know steps can be taken to stop it. But I am.more resentful of someone trying to tell me what to do than the addiction itself. Even as an addict I have insane morals and standards I uphold as long as the only” victim” is me.

      Much to the same effect I despise law enforcement and the court system as ” I know that I am a better person than almost all of them. What gives them any right to throw me in a cage and treat me like an animal? Because I did drugs? Deep Down I know that I am a better person than any of these clowns. Fuck this and fuck them”

      And it’s done. Once my mind is made up,you will not change it. I cannot even break my own will/morals/beliefs even if it is highly beneficial for me. Good luck to anyone else in Heaven or Earth trying. And I will only push back harder everytime I am TOLD anything. I take suggestions well,but NEVER an order.

      I shoot myself in the foot constantly with my need for harmony and balance. As I cannot break my own moral code,I am “Devil’s advocate ” almost all the time. In such insane situations as keeping my ex with her new boyfriend. It pisses me the fuck off. I cant stop myself.

  2. i’m an INFP myself. And today marks 150th day of my sobriety. (so to speak). I’ve been an opiate addict in the last three years, and it was only earlier this year, i finally checked into rehab for a 90 day program. Indeed, I can see how INFPs (well, i speak for myself) can be easily addicted, whether it’s narcotics, alcohol or even feelings at times. Yes I regard our sensitive nature attributing to an easy pattern of addiction we find ourselves routinely caught up with. Being an recovering addict, especially during the post acute withdrawals stage and the first month of being sober, I find myself inundated often under the own weight of my senses and heightened emotions, especially at the first few weeks of recovery. And truly I began to understand how recovery is a journey and not a destination that one could reach ever so quickly, a general rule of thumb suggests five years of abstinence to be a good benchmark to indicate recovery success. But at this stage, 150 days does seem good enough to say I have lost all want or will for any part of my old lifestyle back, but I can only recede back to the doctrinal line of “staying clean one day at a time” so therefore I should not be looking at the sum of my recovery (dunno if that would mean anything to anyone anyways), but rather just enjoying the quality of each day sober.

    I used to have a great career as a headhunter, but yes the addiction did get the better of me eventually. Money and success I see now, looks almost like a slippery slope for us INFPs (it seem), owing to the fact we do not like to take credit for ourselves and always choose to downplay all our successes and endeavors.

    So at this stage of my recovery, I still have not found enough inspiration to try or even to want and get back into the corporate race, not anymore. So upon trying to see what another possible career option might be for me, I chanced upon this article, which led to another close up look of myself inside again. I wished not and I want not for any relapse, but here I’ll end my comment to say that I agree with much of what the article has to share right at the top, that recovery is painful process, for I been negating the ideas of suicide for the past many weeks, and not that for we’re weak, but it’s just that we don’t see it necessary trying to remain strong all the time. Our usual placid ways has its own funny way of showing us some darkness ever so often.

    So with all above said, I wish for everyone success in all they do, and for anyone in recovery, I can only further admire and encourage your strength to keep persisting. I can finally say I’ve been there and done that, and I do not encourage anyone to get there. All the peace and love in the world.

  3. I think you’re right, Mike. I know I recognised a readiness to be adicted in myself, very early in life. Maybe it was easy for me because my parents both smoked like chimneys and my father drank heavily too. Watching them persuaded me to steer clear of those two adictions so I just decided never to smoke or drink but I have always been pretty addicted to junk food; sugar especially, and now I have Type 2 Diabetes.

    I love your honesty, KitarP and wish you well. I would caution you about following Dimiti’s advice though. AA would not advise an alchoholic to run a bar/pub because they know that the temptation could be too great so think long and hard before you seek a career in IT games. On the other hand, my dad eventually became a publican and he claimed that he drank less as a result. Maybe he did but he eventually died in his 50s of smoking and drink related conditions. It’s a conundrum and I don’t claim to have all the answers.

    • I too share the personality type of those here. Both my parents were addicts. I learned about addictions early and stayed clear of drugs and alcohol. I turned to food when my life wasn’t headed in the right direction. I find going to the gym a total bore. 100 lbs. later I have been thinking about exercising more. Maybe to music because it makes me feel better. Zumba, Wii, Bollywood, HipHop Abs Whoa the choices are as endless as my thoughts. I need to get moving am often late for things and lacking structure, I need a push a motivator etc… Wondering what personality type that falls under hmmmm….

    • This is so very similar to me. As a child and through my 20s,my mother was an alcoholic. I did not want any part of alcohol,and generally, I still dont drink.

      That said,any other drug will eventually become an addiction for me . As they have already been. Probably more than once. But I dare anyone to try to TELL me anything! I will fight to the death over my view of things.

  4. KitarP,

    I recently watched a movie called “3 Idiots”, as one of my Indian friends told me about it. Please watch it soon, and share your comments here.


    You might be able to compare what you have been going through, especially on the idea of becoming an “engineer” or a “doctor”.

    “Everyone said” is one of the subjects outlined here as well in this movie.

    Perhaps, while playing these games you have developed interest in 3D art, or observed the music for animation or Special Effects, or have had a great idea about an online game development, or Mobile Game.

    Something has drawn to you the games, besides the “escape” path.

    You did not want to get caught up in the rat race that others are running, and just searching for answers for yourself ( just like Neo did in the Matrix ) can you reflect?

    “i know it all sound pretty weird, stupid and immature…but that seemed like a wise thing to do than ending up doing something that i knew i wouldn’t like…

    Yes, exactly another point of that movie as well.

    You see, you think that it all sounds pretty weird, stupid and immature… and yet you have the wisdom voice inside that at least is still alive and active, and pushing your buttons..

    You can gain a lot of benefits by putting down your thoughts on the experience in the Game world, and may be, learn how to do it yourself, or put out the idea online, and get a New “KitarP Game 2011-2012 developed and published. Who knows?

    There are tools and frameworks that 14 year old kids use and make the best games for Mobile Platforms.


    If they can do it, you can do it..

    If you can not code, possibly you can come up with Game Ideas, or correct and suggest what you don’t like about the existing choices on the Market, or send the ideas to the Game Dev. Companies for New Features..

    You have something to say to them, don’t you?

    Use your experience of 4 years of heavy online gaming, to your advantage as well.

    Put some of your observations and likes and dislikes on paper, and see if you have ever thought about your own.. Start from there..

    After you watch “3 Idiots” would be interesting to see your comments.

  5. Thanks for bringing up this subject…i am an INFP too..I took the test less than a month ago when i felt the need for self-analysis… I come from a small town in India and i grew up with all the cultural values an Hindu family has to offer.. So there was only a slim chance for an alcohol or cigarettes addiction…I have never smoked a puff or drank alcohol besides medicines… I caught a different kind addiction though…It is ONLINE GAMING…And i never thought it would affect my life, my career or family…i was sadly mistaken…it has devoured three and a half years of my life…. I used to be a very bright student…. Everything came easily to me….but i was somehow bored of it all.. studying all those year…not knowing what i want to do in life…i was pretty stupid actually because i gave it all up just because i didn’t want to be caught up in the rat race…i skipped the part where we educate to train our mind so that it can evolve….it was because everyone said i make a great doctor or an engineer among many other career choices but none of them appealed to me…i freaked out…eventually dropped out..i know it all sound pretty weird, stupid and immature…but that seemed like a wise thing to do than ending up doing something that i knew i wouldn’t like…oops why did i type all this….
    So i was addicted to gaming and it took almost four years out of my life….i feel terrible now..i let myself down, i let my family down and i m still not mad at myself..and it sux u know….am also not mad at gaming….i thoroughly enjoyed those years..but now i m lost clueless…with a million options and i love thousands of them…..i ve been studying MBTI and enneagram so that i could narrow down my options…i have wasted a lot of time but not any more…advice me if u have anything to offer…i am in need of councel…ty for reading.. Enlighten me pls..

    • Thanks KitarP!
      It is SO easy to think addiction is isolated to alcohol or something you stick in your arm. But being highly succeptible to the waves of our emotions, I think we’re prone to getting sucked into a dark way of seeing things which can result in seeking any means necessary to be happy – or even happier. This need for more and more (of happiness for instance) can really get you trapped in a bad spot.

      In addition to looking at MBTI and eneagrams, you should also look at your particular strengths and weaknesses. There are tests for this.

      Don’t do something that you’ll love. I kinda don’t think INFPs will ever *love* or even *like* working (people always tell me “it’s called work for a reason”). So choose something you’re good at, that can pay well and gives you good chances of entry into the field. Of course it can get boring. But when I look at the two options I had when I was going into college: try to be a rock star or be a computer programmer, my parents were totally correct in pushing me into school for computers. For one, I get paid well, so it takes care of the security issue. It also helps me pay for professionals who keep me on track – personal trainers, therapists when I need them, etc. And two, I was way more likely to land a programming job than to become a rock star.

      Frankly, it sounds like you’re getting overwhelmed by the number of choices. Totally understandable.

      So here’s the plan:
      First, find out your strengths. Find careers suitable to your strengths. Yes, you’ll have to use skills that you are weak at too. That’s ok.

      Next list the pros and cons of that field.

      Weigh out the pros and cons and decide which you can live with.

      Talk over your options with someone who doesn’t have their head in the clouds. People are way more likely to help us when we have concrete plans. If we just come to them with ideas, then they’ll likely think we’re unrealistic.

      Make a decision. I don’t care if coin flipping is involved. Making the wrong decision is far better than wasting another 4 years of your life.


    • It is a whirlpool of honey. No sense of precious time drowning away whie lost in the sweet taste percieved by the mind.
      AARRGHHHH. double #$@#$
      Disciplining the mind is where success begins and failure ends.

      As you quite rightly stated, work is work and loving work is ok but working on love for pay could jeopardise self existence for me. I am yet to snap out of the percieved world for which I have plotted my destination.

      One common comment about what I do and how i do relates to the INFP vision/creativity/genuiness/new age element which could be a fact and also a almost unnoticeable sort of spider thread that binds me to sanity. It snaps me into the unreal. Where it feels so one with the heart, in flow with the emotions, tastes and all. This trance is too real and i dont want to escape to reality.

      But i have to.
      It is vital.
      I am being counted on.
      Expected of.
      And this has been a life saver twice. The social bond, sense of connectedness that propels me to stop, sense and change my steps to tread the realm which I am summoned for by the soul during this lifespan. One good reasonable equation of my life that I feel is worthy of my existence.

      So having a strong self-checking social sense in absolute parameters is teh key for me. This very moment, this text box and the keyboard is one. As an outlet. But to recieve, especially to keep me functional, the classic old fashion way of informal friendly talks, a hug, a handshake is what I need.

      Its all about energy in one way. I have just too much of it that goes on and on and on. Have to be unplugged some time and spent in some physical activity – sports, fitness, walk, talk, yeah love making, why not?

      This is vital, well, more than it. Vital is just the first rays of teh sun. Wait till noon and see the brightness. And then the sunset. Oh, i forgot, its in relative terms. SO whats absolute then?
      Well me n my life. You n yours.
      To each, his / her own saga it is!


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