"it is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or addictive behaviour" - Dr. Gabor Maté

"An addiction is any behaviour, substance related or not, that an individual pursues because they find pleasure, relief, and crave it temporarily... so they pursue it for the pleasure and relief despite negative consequences and they don't give it up in the face of negative consequences" - Dr. Gabor Maté 

"The addiction serves a purpose such as relieving stress, or it distracts you from emotional pain that you're experiencing, or it gives you pleasure that otherwise is not available to you... The addiction is never the problem but always an attempt on the individual's part to solve a problem... the problem is, why am I having so much emotional pain and how come I don't know how to deal with it... Why is there so much stress in my life and how is it that I can't regulate my stresses without an addictive expression... The addiction isn't the problem, the addiction is actually an attempt at a solution"

The objects of addiction are sometimes interchangeable, in that we often go from one addiction to another. One may be in recovery from an addiction to alcohol and find themselves addicted to eating. Another may replace an addiction with exercise with an addiction to shopping. As long as we do not identify the the real issue beneath, we may simply replace one addiction for another. 


Addictions remove us from realities that seem intolerable. When we cannot bear to be in our own skins, in our own bodies, where we experience both the pain and uncertainty of being human, our addictions can throw us into a state of unconsciousness.  

All addictive processes represent an effort to keep feelings under control.


Addictions keep us from being fully present in the moment with ourselves, our feelings, our friends, etc.