Some thoughts from Gerald May’s “Addiction & Grace” compiled by David Vraza MA.
I’m continuing to explore May’s thesis that self-deception lies at the heart of addiction. Repeated failures to overcome addiction lead naturally to consider giving up. Failure is a massive threat to our sense of self. Our brains our powerfully incentivized to make “peace” with our addictions rather than face the agony, embarrassment, and shame of failure. May traces a passive form of giving up; and an aggressive form of giving up. The passive form is marked by depression, shame, and remorse. The basic distortion is that losing the battle with addiction is worse than the addiction itself. Again, these mind tricks “all have a single purpose: to keep the addictive behavior going.” The more aggressive form seeks to defend the self and cycles back into rationalizations — denying or minimizing the value of life without our addiction, denying or minimizing the harms caused to self and others, or finally, a basic bitter cynicism and nihilism.
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