Five Uneasy Pieces

You don’t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you’re an addict. William S. Burroughs

During assessments of co-occurring clients, I’ve discovered five primary reasons that psychologically coincide with clinically substantiated instances of substance-related disorders. At least one of these components has solicited subjective agreement from clients regarding the causation and perpetuation of chemical dependence. However, none of the following “rationalizations” are exclusive. This list is meant to be a supplemental heuristic for investigating the etiology of alcohol and drug addiction while examining how destructive behavior becomes psychologically embedded through memory, association, and dynamic psychosocial patterns.

  1. A perceived lack of control. Whether it’s a belief or an undeniable experience, the feeling of not being in control of oneself, others, or circumstances is a predominant theme when tranquilizing the emotions of disempowerment via substance dependence. Intoxication may provide a sensation of safety and ascendancy.

  2. Escapism. The desire to be someone else or to be somewhere else is alluring if one’s current predicament is less than peaches and herbs. Escaping a traumatic past or fantasizing about a euphoric future can be intensified when accompanied by excessive drug use. Likewise, anesthetizing the agony of chronic pain or grief issues often leads to equal-opportunity escapism by all means necessary.

  3. Compensatory Adaptation. Although prolonged substance use can become maladaptive, during the initial stages it can feel like an effective substitute for intimacy or confirmation of feelings. Ongoing interpersonal stress, a lack of secure attachments, resentment, and developmental deficits are temporarily placated by the illusory stability of chemical dependence. Likewise, subconscious fears are assuaged with synthetic anodynes meant to subdue emotional vulnerability.

  1. Hedonism. Sometimes self-indulgence becomes a chronic inclination. For example, the party aficionado who remains in a state of arrested development, or the “weekend warrior” who seems lost on the battleground of endless gratification. This category is generally reserved for those who want to sustain a champagne-drenched lifestyle that no longer wants to sustain them. Apologists for hedonism desperately believe that nothing says success like excess.

  2. Situational Insecurity. Certain environments, people, and situations can cause one to feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Anxiety is a complicated state of mind. Until the identifying factors of anxiety and self-doubt are closely examined, the tendency to “self-medicate” only requires a sufficiently intimidating backdrop with access to an open bar.


One thought on “Five Uneasy Pieces

  1. It’s an interesting notion that you bring up. From what I’ve heard of Av7a#r&a821t;s plot it sounded to me like it was a fairly unlikely scenario (I’d like to hope that we’d be less capitalistic, less imperialistic and better able to produce whatever energy we need without launching invasions), but if we were, as a race, to launch out into space to take what we want from another world regardless of what the population there has to say, well, yeah, that sounds pretty much like how we’d do it.Sheesh, I hope my sentence there made sense. I just woke up, so I’m not sure. 😀

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