From The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
“What are you doing there?” he said to the tippler [alcoholic], whom he found settled down in silence before a collection of empty bottles and also a collection of full bottles.
“I am drinking,” replied the tippler, with a lugubrious air.
“Why are you drinking?” demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who already was sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!” The tippler brought his speech to an end, and shut himself up in an impregnable silence.
And the little prince went away puzzled.
This story describes the self-driven downward spiral of addiction. It describes the pattern of emotional consequences created by the addiction itself, requiring more of the addiction to relieve it. (I refer to this as the spiral of death). An important part of successful recovery is the process of consistently working to rid oneself of the emotional patterns that fuel the addictions in the first place. Be it shame, guilt, anger, disappointment, fear, or general feelings of unworthiness, the root of these feelings is probably being supported by certain patterns in life. If addiction is not going to be used to help quell the emotional consequences of these negative patterns, then we had better begin to stop them so that the quelling is no longer necessary.