The extreme needs for sex and drugs are specific strategies to not feel emotional pain. Both approaches are forms of escape from reality.
The truth hurts, but it must be told. In “The Heart of the Soul,” Gary Zukar and Linda Francis say it frankly—the real cause of drug addiction is intense emotional pain. Whether the use of prohibited drugs is occasional or frequent, it just differs in degrees of dependence. But the trigger is the same—fear of rejection, humiliation, acceptance, being judged, not measuring up or failure. Underneath it all is pain.
If you dig deeper, then you will eventually discover that the addicted person is filled with shame and fear.
“I was the eldest son, the first-born and admittedly the object of our parents’ attention and affection. Over time, as I grew up, and when my other siblings were born, I began to receive less and less of my parents’ attention. And I didn’t like it at all. I always had my way all the time. As a result, I was spoiled rotten. So, I acted out by retreating.
“A classmate introduced me to downers and uppers. One day, their effects had become too weak. This was when I graduated to shabu, LSD and cocaine. I was addicted, and I only knew it when I jumped through a glass door. Luckily, despite the jagged shards of glass, I was not fatally wounded.
“Straight to rehab I went. Six months didn’t even make a dent on my addiction. I pretended to be well so I could be released. It was only when I decided to migrate to another country that I actually sobered up. Well, not exactly. I quit the drugs but replaced it with alcohol. After two failed marriages, I felt alone and depressed. Soon enough, I became an alcoholic. It was only when I hit rock bottom that something in me broke during an Alcoholics Anonymous session. I broke down and cried. Only when I felt empty did I ask God to fill me. Since then I have become a devout Christian.
“Did I confront my pain? Yes. What caused it in the first place was my fear of not being loved. Looking back, I realized that I had thrown away nearly 25 years of my life.
“Today I have successfully picked up the pieces. I deeply regret having caused so much worry and anxiety to my parents and relationships.”
Sex as defensive action
Normal intimate relationships use sex as an expression of love. Every personal interaction generates emotions. When the focus is exclusively on sex, it becomes a hindrance to experiencing true emotions. This can lead to an addictive sexual attraction, which is a form of self-defense against being powerless. The person who hops from bed to bed is afraid of being discovered.
At the very core is the person’s fear of being unloved and unlovable.
The reason why intense sexual relationships don’t last is because both partners are the same. Like attracts like. It begins with a craving that can never be satisfied, thus the frequency of changing lovers. Every relationship is an outlet—a form of release. In the end, both partners use each other in the same way. It is said that the sharper the emotional pain, the greater the craving for a sexual encounter.
For every hurt felt, there is a starting point. The presence of pain is a signal from within for you to act on the warning signs as soon as you feel them. If you ignore them, the signal get stronger.
The best of beginnings is to embark on that inward journey. By always looking outward, you will be distracted from yours by being angry, impatient, jealous, demanding. By looking outside of yourself, you avoid the need to look within.
A strong warning to those who find themselves in this situation. If you bury your pain deeper and deeper, then know that you are also burying something as explosive as dynamite.
The path to healing is to accept the fact that you are not out of control, and that you need help.
Every pain confronted is an opportunity to start the healing process.