"I've looked at life...from both sides now..."
"Each addiction is incredibly unique, and there are key
differences in how they manifest, disable, and are overcome."
"All addictive behavior is essentially the same, coming from
the same place and needing the same basic approach."
Most people seem to have developed an 'either/or'
philosophy when it comes to comprehending addiction
behavior. I'm more of a mind that both statements or
approaches have merit.
We live in complicated times, after all. A world of greys
and inconsistencies and ever-developing new concepts
and problems. And certainly complexity has always
been an aspect of addiction. Hell, if the world were
'black-and-white,' addiction might not exist.
But at the same time, life is rather unchanging.
Basic truths (inhumanity, longing, cyclical politics)
have remained the same since the beginning of civilization.
All addicts either begin as--or at some point become--
dissatisfied that we left the womb. The world for us is
a harsh and unaccommodating place that we feel
incapable of enduring--despite
how well we might appear to be managing or
maintaining on the outside.
Yet people with addictions/addictive tendencies are
made up of a multitude of people, from various
backgrounds, education, cultures, orientations, etc.
I'm not a fan of "who's suffered worse?" fights; They're
counter-productive, divisive, and they embolden
Victim thinking. Yes, heroin is a frightening and
destructive drug. Nicotine is insidious in its grip. But
sugar is powerfully addictive to the mind and body
as well--and highly dangerous to health. Gambling
and porn addiction behavior can have the same level of
devastating effects as a drug binge.
What ties us together, all of us outsider addicts, is the
base mentality and psyche that leads us to addiction
in the first place. Because we might all come to our
drug(s) of choice in myriad ways and at different ages,
but the desperation to escape the pain of reality is
usually a pretty solid connection.
Regardless of whether you get high off of alcohol, sex,
food, cocaine, danger, cigarettes, spending money
or snorting fumes, the behavior is in response to the
same type of emotional stimuli.
Once a high had been produced even one time, that
chemical reaction and release has an impact on the
body. Those neural pathways are hard-wired anew,
now associating these thoughts and feelings
with the specific behavior and pay-off
that produced it. The die is cast.
For a food addict, one difficulty unique to us is
being surrounded by the weapon of choice every
moment of the day. There's even encouragement
to partake--and over-indulge. For a meth addict,
it's affordable enough and readily available so
that any time you happen to be feeling low or
anxious, there's potentially a (bad) solution to
those feelings ready to jump at you.
Particulars vary, but impact and
drive do not.
Behind all of the longing is the neurosis of
hurting people. Dissatisfaction and pain are at the
heart and core of every person driven by an
addiction. Despite differences, we are the same.
Recognizing this could do a lot to overcome
the illusion of separateness that keeps us from
finding allies and understanding in a greater
number of places.