THE JOURNEY TOWARD TOLERANCE, COMPASSION, AND SERVICE (GALEN TINDER AND BILL WHITE)

  Progressive transformations of personal character and relationships are central themes within narratives of addiction and addiction recovery. Entrapment within the self and its eroding effects on personal character are endemic features of addiction. Such entrapment goes by many names (narcissism, selfishness, self-centeredness), all reflecting a reordering of one’s needs and desires that morphs into near-total self-absorption—an entire orientation of being that shapes how we face the world and process reality. How one perceives, feels, thinks, judges, and acts are all transformed within this ever-shrinking capsule of self and the dominating self-drug relationship. The loss of control and creeping fear of impending insanity within the addiction experience require extreme defensive adaptations (the masks of addiction). Common among these defense mechanisms are distortions of reality (e.g., problem minimization and denial), elaborate rationalizations, overcompensation, increased grandiosity and arrogance, projection of blame on others, constant resentments (envy/ jealousy/ anger), narrow-mindedness, black-white / either-or… Continue reading