Addiction as Joy Deficit

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There have been many discussion and recommendations concerning how to respond to addictive behaviors. The fa-mous Twelve-Step Groups have evolved for addictions to alcohol, drugs, overeating and even workaholism! There are companion groups as well for the co-dependents of the addict and co-·dependency is considered an addiction in its own right. In reviewing the psychological literature on the effectiveness of these groups and on the nature of addiction and using my own perspective as a part-time workaholic, sugaraholic myself, I would like to propose that addiction is NOT the sign of a character deficit. – Rather, all addiction is a joy deficit. I see it as the cry of a hungry soul that does not love life more than it loves LOVE. Essentially, a life without love is not worth living.



Addiction is the defiant, suicidal cry of a child of God rebelling against the injustice of suffering and pain when kindness, compassion, support and the joy of love are hislher true birthright. Addiction is the sign of a seeker of transcendence. It is a misplaced expression of divine dissatisfaction with this dimension (demonsion??) and its toils, insults, depravities and tragedies. It is not so much a lack of willpower as an incredibly STUBBORN amount of WON’T power! There are two wills locked in mortal combat inside the addict~ soul. When life does not provide the requisite amount of motivation, life-energy (joy), to sustain such a soul above its addiction threshold, the maladaptive behavior will manifest, no matter how self-destructive it is: “Let me outta here! Get me out of this state of consciousness, NOW, PRONTO!!!!! Somebody, something, be my teddy bear. Hold me and tell me that it’s all right. Even if you stab me in the back later.”

Posted on 12/10/2008 by Elizabeth Keller, MSN, RN-C, FNP