In his insightful book, The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior, author Craig Nakken explains why, even after an addict has given up the bottle or the weed, she will never be done with recovery:
Addiction is a process of buying into false and empty promises: the false promise of relief, the false promise of emotional security, the false sense of fulfillment, and the false sense of intimacy with the world….Like any other major illness, addiction is an experience that changes people in permanent ways. That is why it’s so important that people in recovery attend Twelve Step and other self-help meetings on a regular basis; the addictive logic remains deep inside of them and looks for an opportunity to reassert itself in the same or in a different form.
Nakken brilliantly explains the addictive cycle that I merely call “the exploding head phenomenon”: the process by which I continually seek relief from uncomfortable feelings, a “nurturing through avoidance — an unnatural way of taking care of one’s emotional needs,” as he says. The addict, he clarifies, seeks serenity through a person, place, or thing.