Feeling alone, the sense that there has never been anyone with whom to share their deepest emotions, is universal among addicts. All adicts seek in their habit the same paradise; comfort, vitality, and freedom from pain. Addiction is a search that puts health, societal position, dignity, and freedom at risk.
I am not afraid of death, I am more afraid of life.
What kind of despair leads someone to value short-term pain relief over life itself?
What is the source of such despair?
Only a small percentage of people who try alcohol or cocaine or even crystal meth go on to addictive use. What makes those people vulnerable? According to brain research and developmental psychology, chemical and emotional vulnerability are the products of life experience.
Addictions always originate in unhappiness. They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain. The first question is not why the addiction, but why the pain?
Brain’s growth occurs after birth, and so physical and emotional interactions determine our neurological development. Each brain’s chemistry reflect individual life experiences. Addiction is determined by the degree of stress they had to endure early in life.
Addictions arise in all families. The hidden factor is the stress the parents themselves lived under, even if they did not recognize it. That stress could come from relationship problems or outside circumstances such as economic pressure or political disruption.
The most frequent source of stress is the parents’ own childhood histories that they are not conscious of. What we are not aware of in ourselves, we pass on to our children. Stressed, anxious, or depressed parents have great difficulty initiating emotionally rewarding interactions with their children.