Addiction at it’s Roots


Inside the rooms of AA members often share experiences of their active addiction themed in characteristics of low self-esteem, shame and emotional insecurity.  No matter the origin of these characteristics (which many a professional and addict state as beginning with adverse childhood experiences) what’s left is a chronic feeling of emptiness and rejection.  In the desire to escape this painful emotional state of being and driven by fear instinct, people fill their emptiness in a variety of ways.  The alcoholic has an insatiable hunger left by this sense of emptiness and the demand for alcohol becomes excessive.  The chronic sense of deprivation leads to self-centeredness. This distorted bias and self-involved thinking supports an addicted life.

Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity

Alcoholics Anonymous, p.62

Some of the narrow-minded thoughts common in the self-centered addict include:

  • I am entitled to do and say whatever I want
  • You would drink too if you had my problems
  • My needs, desires, feelings are important and should be addressed by others
  • I am important, smart, exceptional…. and should be treated as such
  • I am always right
  • I don’t have to follow the rules or obey laws

Such dysfunctional thinking patterns most often sabotage addicts socially, occupationally and within personal relationships.  Relatively the psychological and emotional aspects of addiction drive the physical features of its impact and cravings on the body and brain.  In the addicts attempt to capture their unmet needs of love and security and failing, they relate to the substances used in addiction.

Treatment, recovery and help from others can help the addict toward the ultimate answers they seek of self-love, compassion and self-actualization.  Additionally, recovery can help restore a mutual respect in relationships and social supports when the distorted self-centered thinking is replaced with thoughts of empathy and the desire to be authentic.