Five Truly Enlightening Quotes About Addiction
One of the few positive things that come from addiction is the knowledge that people garner from their own bad habits. These views can provide insight, support, and assurance to the addicted that they are not alone in their feelings.
But not every great quote comes from an addict or alcoholic. Many professionals and those close to substance abusers can have great insight, as well.
I’ve handpicked a few quotes about addiction (with commentary) that I find to be particularly compelling and helpful.
Addiction As Self-Medication
“Addiction begins with the hope that something “out there” can instantly fill up the emptiness inside.” ~ Jean Kilbourne
Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D. is an author, speaker, and filmmaker. She has been internationally recognized for her work on images of women in advertising, as well as studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. This quote was lifted from her book “Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel.”
I like the simplicity here. Mainly because I know that substance abuse occurs for a reason, and its never a good one. Those who suffer from long-term drug and alcohol use often suffer from negative childhood experiences or mental illness.
Substance abuse is so often used as a means to self-medicate, and to take a break from the reality of being ourselves. Thus, trying to “fill up the emptiness.”
Addictions Are Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
“Addictions … started out like magical pets, pocket monsters. They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn’t seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions. And they were … less intelligent than goldfish.” ~ William Gibson
William Gibson is an author. This quote was lifted from his novel “Zero History.”
The sentiment expressed here looks at how addiction evolves from early onset to a long-term condition. In the beginning, drug and alcohol use is fun, different, and makes you feel good in ways you are not accustomed.
However, in the end, addiction can completely take over your life – you start to structure your day around addiction goals. You are ultimately giving control over your life away to something that is worthless, and indeed, incredibly destructive.
Addiction is Largely a Function of a Substance’s Effect on the Brain
“At first, addiction is maintained by pleasure, but the intensity of this pleasure gradually diminishes and the addiction is then maintained by the avoidance of pain.” ~ Frank Tallis
Frank Tallis is a writer in the horror and psychology genre. This quote was lifted from his novel “Love Sick.”
Another description of addiction’s deceptive nature, and how it can permanent “hijack” or transform the brain. Substance addition triggers chemical receptors in the brain (i.e. dopamine) which are responsible for good feelings. This is the main we become addicted in the first place – because of the positive moods that we get from the chemical reaction.
But over time, that reaction diminishes. It’s called tolerance. More and more of the substance is required to maintain the same effect. Eventually, the effect is minimal, and the person often no longer enjoys using, but they have to in order to avoid terrible side effects. This is the avoidance of pain that Tallis is referring to, in addition to negative feelings and behaviors that have also evolved along with the addiction.
Recovery Needs A Comprehensive Approach
“Recovery from addiction requires hard work, a proper attitude and learning skills to stay sober, not drinking alcohol or using other drugs. Successful drug recovery or alcohol recovery involves changing attitudes, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills to meet the many challenges of sobriety.” ~ Dennis Daley
Dr. Dennis Daley is an expert in the field of addition recovery, serving for more than 30 years in clinical care and research assisting substance abusers. He served for years as Chief of Addiction Medicine Service of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. His is a clinician, professor, researcher, and author.
Thus, Daley has offered innumerable quotes about addiction, and here he presents us with a common sense, no-frills approach to recovery. True recovery doesn’t usually happen due to one component or lifestyle change – it has to come from a variety of sources. Sources such as internal work, external support, and coping skill development.
And most importantly, switching your drug of choice may help with harm reduction, but it will not ultimately shape your thinking, priorities, and ability to deal with reality.
Addiction Is Not A Moral Problem
“….if we regard alcoholics and drug addicts not as bad people but as sick people, then we can help them to get better. By we, I mean other people who have the same problem but have found a way to live drug- and alcohol-free lives.” ~ Russell Brand
Russel brand is an actor, comedian, and recovering heroin addict. This quote was lifted from The Spectator magazine.
This is one of my favorite quotes about addiction because it very succinctly states that substance abusers are not necessarily moral flawed. Whether or not they are diseases, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that substance abusers are sick, equal to any mental or physical illness.
Moreover, dehumanizing and incarcerated addicts do not help them. They need help, treatment, support, and understanding – especially from those who have already walked that road a few miles.
I hope you found these quotes about addiction helpful and engaging!
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology