“Addictive fascination and fixity of interest have been justly compared to the more commonly known stage of romantic or infatuated love in which the lover thinks constantly of the beloved and pines and suffers when not in their presence. An individual in such a state of mind is said to be obsessed with their love object and to subordinate every other aspect of their existence, including at times their health, work, and other relationships to the fulfillment of the almost unbearable need and longing to be united with their beloved. And we know from life as well as literature that so passionate and frequently desperate are such lovers that at times they even die as a consequence of or for their love.”
The Addictive Process
– Floyd P. Garrett, M.D.
“The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living, to ease the passage of day with some purchased relief.”
― Russell Brand
I don’t believe any addict ever thought they would end up in the bottomless pit their addiction took them to. They did what they had to do to survive; to reduce the pain, to avoid fear , to get relief. So blaming them for their behaviour is not helpful. Calling them self-destructive is missing the point: no species self-destructs, they do what they have to do to avoid tension, to reduce distress, to survive.
The fact that those who have to watch someone do these behaviours causes massive adaptations and adjustments – what experts label “codependent” – is a terrible collateral consequence of addiction.
But the addict is not to blame for this either. They didn’t mean to do something that would hurt everyone around them. The guilt and shame an addict bears for the way their behaviour affects others is enormous and to address this requires them to accept responsibility, not blame. They are not to blame, however they are responsible.
There is only one effective way for an addict to repair the damage done – to accept that they are an addict and once this acceptance is undertaken then the process to stop doing the addictive behaviour can commence. When this first step is achieved – responsibility commences.