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By combining the observations above, . by understanding how the obsessive "romantic" relationship of the addict to his addiction is supported and defended by the mental defense mechanisms of denial, paranoid projection, rationalization, minimization and justification, an answer emerges in response to the question posed at the beginning of this paper: The basic facts about addiction and recovery are neither complex nor difficult to understand. Why, then, do addicts have such difficulty in grasping and acting upon them? The addict exists in the grip of a desire("love") every bit as powerful, if indeed not more powerful, than that of the benighted lover for his beloved. His entire self is involved, tilted on its axis so to speak, by the tremendous force of this desire. He therefore faces in a direction that he would not otherwise face – and he views matters, including himself, his world, and everything in it through the lens of his desire. He is therefore neither rational nor, in a certain sense, sane. The center from which all radii emanate and around which his entire circumference is constructed, is nothing else than his addiction. The mental defense mechanisms described above function to smooth the path for the fulfillment of his desire. The addict's mind has been taken over by his addiction and becomes an instrument for the addiction to use to protect and advance itself and its interests. He has become a hostage in his own house, an unwitting victim of a secret kidnapping by which his very self has been hijacked by the addictive process and enslaved to its endless and irrational demands for gratification. This means, among other things, that what once was human has been subjected to the rule of the inhuman, . of the blind, ruthless, unconscious, and utterly unethical force of the desire of addiction. The process of recovery involves the recovery and restoration of the self. The human, . the existing individual with all of his values and aspirations, displaces the inhuman force of the addictive desire that had insidiously taken over the personality of the addict and converted him into a mere puppet for the execution of the demands of the addiction. back to top