THE NATURE OF ADDICTION

Fr Jim Cogley



There are so many who condone the use of recreational drugs and regard it as quite harmless. This is in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Having known and worked with many drug users over years, what alarms me most is something that very seldom is given mention. When an addiction, be it to drugs, alcohol, or anything else, begins to get a grip, emotional development goes on hold. From the point of addiction there is little or no emotional development. This is because emotions can be painful and addiction is a form of trying to numb out pain. So when any emotional issues arise, rather than face and grow through them, the addictive substance is resorted to and serves to block off all possibility of growth. This then becomes the frightening reality for all addicts attempting recovery. A forty year old who developed an addiction at sixteen will still be an emotionally immature sixteen-year old, if he or she manages to break free. So often it is the backlog of emotional material, and feeling ill-equipped for the world which he or she has woken up to, that scares the person back into addiction.