*This entry is the continuation of The Enneagram of Personality & Addictive Patterns (PART 1)

The Enneagram symbol is a map of archetypal energies. It describes the various ways these energies manifest, and also how they move and transform. Any observable phenomenon in the world (or the universe for that matter) can be mapped onto the Enneagram symbol. The Enneagram of Personality speaks to the way that psychological energy manifests, moves, and transforms within human beings. There are 9 different psychological types, each with their own core concerns and unique ways of navigating through life. While we can’t say exactly how addictive patterns will play out in any given individual, and all rules come with exceptions, there are certain kinds of addictive patterns that commonly show up in each type.

Type 6: The Loyal Skeptic
Loyal Skeptics are concerned with finding external support and avoiding negative outcomes. They like lifestyles that offer belonging and security (though there are vastly different ways in which various 6s achieve security). They are often committed, engaging, and inquisitive. Type 6s are prone to a dependency of all kinds. They often become dependent on institutions, ideology, or people in their lives. Substance dependency fits the bill as well. Addictive patterns commonly include alternation between stimulants and depressants. Stimulants offer stamina to do all the work involved in “striking the dutiful posture” of a loyal friend or committed worker—which they are compelled to do, to gain the support of others. And if their commitments are mostly taken care of for the day, 6s may use depressants to dampen their incessant anxiety and try to wind down. Type 6s also have difficulty with trust and feel the world is chaotic. So a beer, cigarette, or ice cream pint can become the reliable, “trustworthy” source of comfort which they feel they can count on. 

Type 7: The Enthusiast
Enthusiasts are concerned with seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. They do everything in their power to maintain a positive outlook on life and keep their calendars full of enjoyable activities. They are often light-hearted, spontaneous, and high-energy. Type 7s are known as the gluttons of the Enneagram, always wanting more excitement and stimulation. This habit betrays a need to stay away from pain and negativity at all costs, for fear of getting trapped in those undesirable states. Addictive patterns in 7s may include the use of stimulants to stay “up” and energized, so they can outrun negative feelings. But ultimately, addiction is not a very predictable phenomenon with this personality type. The truth is, Type 7s can get hooked on almost anything that offers or enhances pleasure—whether the pleasure in question is physical, mental, social, spiritual, or otherwise. They tend to favor whatever makes them feel good. And more is always better.

Type 8: The Challenger
Challengers are concerned with being strong, in order to protect themselves and others. They like to have a handle on their environment and to create their own destiny. They are often confident, action-oriented, and assertive. Addictive patterns have a somewhat broad definition, here. We could say that 8s are addicted to intensity; they are the “adrenaline junkies” of the Enneagram. They gravitate towards grand challenges, power struggles, or enveloping physical sensations. Open confrontation, extreme sports, conquering the world of business, riding motorcycles down narrow mountainside roads; these are some examples of activities that may appeal to 8s. But their excessiveness can also manifest through a powerful desire for physical satisfaction. This is where substances might come into play. Because 8s are so tough and hardy, they can often consume more of a given substance than the rest of us. They may have the physical capability to drink you under the table, chain-smoking through the entire evening, or have a second, third, and fourth helping of what’s for dinner—and then go for an after-dinner run. Moderation is not a strong suit.

Type 9: The Mediator
Mediators are concerned with maintaining an inner calm and managing (or avoiding) conflict. They like to dwell within a comfort-zone of their own creation, and bask in the peace they find there. They are usually easygoing, receptive, and reassuring. In order to maintain calm and comfort, they must deal with “disturbances to the peace.” Mediators must often deal with those disturbances by tuning them out or ignoring them. This strategy is referred to as narcotization, and addictive patterns fit right into it. Sometimes narcotization manifests as sleeping, eating, shopping, endless TV, or just lazing around in a foggy state of mind. But it can also look like using substances (particularly depressants) to become numb to the unpleasant parts of life. Another important aspect of Type 9s is that they love to “merge,” or blend with, energies exterior to themselves. They want to feel a sense of unity between self and other—whether the other is a friend, a lover, Mother Nature, God, or the universe. For this reason, they may be attracted to mind-expanding substances that help “blur the boundaries.”

You may feel identified to one Type in particular, and it can help you understand yourself at a different level. The key factor here is to use this information wisely and always direct all of your energies to become a better version of yourself. You can get to know yourself by practicing mindfulness, by self-reflection and by opening to others. If you are smoking and you want to stop, or even if you already became a non-smoker, you can try MindCotine and dive deep into your personality.

Curious about the first 5 types of enneagrams? Read about them here.

*The information in this post comes from a wide variety of sources, but extra special credit goes to Don Riso, Russ Hudson, and Helen Palmer.

Noah Gray, MA, Wellness Coach
Noah Gray Wellness Coaching
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