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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Unhappy Addiction to Pain

    My friend's sister is a heroin addict who can't get her shit together. She seems like she's going to improve, but ends up failing in the end. She has a kid who is being raised by his grandmother, aunts and uncles. She has lots of tattoos all over. She is allegedly very beautiful, but I haven't seen her myself.

    I was thinking what he deal is and here's what I came up with: she's addicted to pain. Her tattoos are one indication, but the other is the way she keeps destroying her life. She makes her life into a tragic play and makes herself the victim, always close to success, but always failing; the closer she is, the more hope everyone has, the greater that tragedy. Why? One possible reason is that tragedy engenders intimacy. It's a way to feel connected to yourself. Maybe it's that there's so much pain she can no longer hide it and has to open up to it. Why can't she open up to it? Probably because she was never taught how, like most people, I believe.

    Yes, drugs are addictive, but under this theory, the high from the drug isn't the payoff. It's the eventual feeling of tragedy she feels that's the real addiction.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Rainy Day Member Ingrid in grids's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    My friend's sister is a heroin addict who can't get her shit together. She seems like she's going to improve, but ends up failing in the end. She has a kid who is being raised by his grandmother, aunts and uncles. She has lots of tattoos all over. She is allegedly very beautiful, but I haven't seen her myself.

    I was thinking what he deal is and here's what I came up with: she's addicted to pain. Her tattoos are one indication, but the other is the way she keeps destroying her life. She makes her life into a tragic play and makes herself the victim, always close to success, but always failing; the closer she is, the more hope everyone has, the greater that tragedy. Why? One possible reason is that tragedy engenders intimacy. It's a way to feel connected to yourself. Maybe it's that there's so much pain she can no longer hide it and has to open up to it. Why can't she open up to it? Probably because she was never taught how, like most people, I believe.

    Yes, drugs are addictive, but under this theory, the high from the drug isn't the payoff. It's the eventual feeling of tragedy she feels that's the real addiction.

    Thoughts?
    It saddens me that there are so many affected in your friend's situation. Clearly there are multiple victims. I sincerely wish your friend, his sister and everyone involved all the best towards her recovery and a more better, more stable life for all of them.

    I don't think it's sounds like an addiction to pain. What you've mentioned sounds more like risk-taking behaviour, which can be an addiction. As a total isolated outsider, I'm reluctant to pass judgement and claim she has an addiction to either. The motivations of drug users and complicated, and I can't imagine a person with an addiction to heroin being able to appreciate the romance and tragedy in their situation.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty clear she's addicted to the heroin.

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    It's hard to add anything else to what you've already said without knowing any more of the details, but I think a lot of what you're saying may be true. I think it's very possible after prolonged used that the initial effects of the high has worn off considerably, depending on how long she's used it.

    Tragedy breeds intimacy - very true. It's hard for anyone to understand the highs and lows of heroin addiction and if she feels isolated in that sense, it would make sense for her to separate herself from herself and turn it into a character in some tragic drama.

    In line with that also, I think that because you have such highs and such lows in heroin addiction, and the efficacy of the drug wears off over time that she may just be looking for another high-low experience. That would explain the consistent relapsing right at the cusp of full recovery. It's not so much she's addicted to pain, but the heroin isn't giving her the drama she's used to anymore and now she has to find it some other way. I think this is how I would read the situation, but again, tough to say for sure without knowing any more details.

    It could also be that she has been in the shit for so long and so hard that she is scared to death of change. Any change. Even the kind of change that would make her life better. Like this cycle of high and low and shit is actually comforting to her and she couldn't break herself from that without drastically and painfully changing how she views herself. Maybe to her that shift in self-identity is more painful to her than anything else?

    That's all I got.

  5. #5
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    beautiful/sad perspective but i'm not sure i see it the same....i think she suffers from self hate and feelings of unworthiness. i think she wants to disappear...maybe she's beautiful outside but feels really ugly inside...she covers her body with tattoos to show you she's nothing...she feels loved when her family reaches out to help...but then feels unworthy of it so she can't accept it...instead just wishing to disappear...life would be better without her...all she causes is pain.

    anyway that's my quick take...she needs to learn to love and value herself.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Had an ex who is/was similar to the woman described in the OP. Beautiful girl who could do anything she wants...

    Methadone addict, tattoos, cutter on occasion, loves men who treat her like shit (walks on the ones that don't)... Insecure, self loathing, depressed, slightly bipolar and severely anxious are her problems. Yeah, met her when we were both young (through church functions) and then when she started becoming more erratic, I tried believing that it was merely a rough spot in life, that she could overcome through encouragement and "learning the hard way" as she was crashing through life's hurdles at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, she is where she's always been - making the same mistakes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beat View Post
    Had an ex who is/was similar to the woman described in the OP. Beautiful girl who could do anything she wants...

    Methadone addict, tattoos, cutter on occasion, loves men who treat her like shit (walks on the ones that don't)... Insecure, self loathing, depressed, slightly bipolar and severely anxious are her problems. Yeah, met her when we were both young (through church functions) and then when she started becoming more erratic, I tried believing that it was merely a rough spot in life, that she could overcome through encouragement and "learning the hard way" as she was crashing through life's hurdles at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, she is where she's always been - making the same mistakes.
    And my thesis is that there's a reason for that, namely, that she's addicted to failure because of the feelings it engenders (as well as the sympathy).

  8. #8
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post
    It's hard to add anything else to what you've already said without knowing any more of the details, but I think a lot of what you're saying may be true. I think it's very possible after prolonged used that the initial effects of the high has worn off considerably, depending on how long she's used it.

    Tragedy breeds intimacy - very true. It's hard for anyone to understand the highs and lows of heroin addiction and if she feels isolated in that sense, it would make sense for her to separate herself from herself and turn it into a character in some tragic drama.
    Well done, sir!

    /Captain Lassard

    /1980s

    In line with that also, I think that because you have such highs and such lows in heroin addiction, and the efficacy of the drug wears off over time that she may just be looking for another high-low experience. That would explain the consistent relapsing right at the cusp of full recovery. It's not so much she's addicted to pain, but the heroin isn't giving her the drama she's used to anymore and now she has to find it some other way. I think this is how I would read the situation, but again, tough to say for sure without knowing any more details.

    It could also be that she has been in the shit for so long and so hard that she is scared to death of change. Any change. Even the kind of change that would make her life better. Like this cycle of high and low and shit is actually comforting to her and she couldn't break herself from that without drastically and painfully changing how she views herself. Maybe to her that shift in self-identity is more painful to her than anything else?

    That's all I got.
    Interesting. It gets to something that really fascinates me: pleasure. What is it? Why is having an identity pleasurable, whereas having no identity feels scary? Why is pleasure connected to the maintenance and expansion of the self, and how exactly is it connected? Strange stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    beautiful/sad perspective but i'm not sure i see it the same....i think she suffers from self hate and feelings of unworthiness. i think she wants to disappear...maybe she's beautiful outside but feels really ugly inside...she covers her body with tattoos to show you she's nothing...she feels loved when her family reaches out to help...but then feels unworthy of it so she can't accept it...instead just wishing to disappear...life would be better without her...all she causes is pain.
    I dunno. I tried telling her that but she wouldn't listen to me.

  9. #9
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    It's a theory.

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    I've experienced addictions in my own family and elsewhere and recognise the pattern you're describing.

    In my view when you've become substance dependent, particularly if you do it early in life, then your maturation stops, if by some miracle you snap out of it you're more or less at the stage in psychological development that you started using. What all that amounts to is exactly what you've described, although I would say that its an addiction to drama rather than pain, its simply that the drama can involve pain for all involved.

    The thing about being dependent upon substances is that its generally companioned with generalised dependency, upon others to shoulder responsibilities, like caring for you and, ironically, any dependents you may have like elderly parents or children, and more than anything else to regulate your emotional state and provide stimulus in the abscence of any other sort of high or even in addition to it. That's something you cant be sure of and so being in a state of perpetual distress, obviously not managing, being incapable of it and being needy or sick has the benefit of drawing people in to perform that role.

    So you could wise up at thirty after becoming dependent on alcohol at 15 but all your thinking and behaviour is very likely to be akin to that of a thirteen year old, especially all the things which people associate with maturity, ie self-regulating your emotional state, consequential thinking, being inner as opposed to other or peer directed.

    To be honest what annoys me is the abscence of the consequential thinking, abscence of conscientious attunement. That's not being thoughtful or mindful of others to a fault, neurotic guilt is not conscientiousness and usually triggers another binge or getting high to avoid the feelings. The ability to think, to stop and think, to do so without immediately being overwhelmed by feelings, and to keep steady instead of heaping trauma and drama upon trauma and drama is what needs to be developed.

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