13 July 2009

Letter from Lhasa, number 112. (Twerski 1997): Addictive Thinking

Letter from Lhasa, number 112. (Twerski 1997): Addictive Thinking

by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Twerski, A. J., Addictive Thinking. Understanding Self-deception, Hazelden Publishing, Center City, MN, USA, 1997.

(Twerski 1997).

Abraham J. Twerski

One tells oneself what one wants to listen. One understands what one wants to understand. People think in such an addicted way when they are addicted of themselves. It is what actually generally happens. In addition, the addict wants instant gratification. The addictive thinker does not reason. He/she acts instinctively. The addict feels grossly inadequate.

(Twerski 1997) in actually about addiction from substances and their influence on the way of thinking and behaving of the addict.

Addictive thinking may exist prior to the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. But there is one characteristic that appears to be generated by chemical addiction: manipulation.

Nonaddicts are occasionally manipulative, and addicts may have manipulated other people before they began to drink or use other drugs. But with the use of alcohol and other drugs, the problem escalates. People are forced into lying, covering up, and manipulating. Addicted people develop expertise at manipulating and, over time, this becomes an ingrained character trait.

(Twerski 1997, p. 63)

Since, an addict is manipulated from narcotics (either psychological or material or, quite certainly, both), and from the whole narcotics' “industry”, it would probably more correct to define the addict as a manipulated manipulator.

The addict nature is characterized more from self-shame than from guiltiness.

The main distinction between guilt and shame is this:

The guilty person says, "I feel guilty for something I have done."

The shame-filled person says, "I feel shame for what I am."

Why is the distinction so important? Because people can apologize, make restitution, make amends, and ask forgiveness for what they have done; they can do pathetically little about what they are. Alchemists during medieval times spent their working lives futilely trying to convert lead into gold. A person feeling shame doesn't even try, thinking, I cannot change my substance. If I'm made up of inferior material, there is no reason for me to make any effort to change myself. It would be an act of futility.

Guilt can lead to corrective action. Shame leads to resignation and despair.

Close analysis of addicted people often reveals very low selfesteem and deep-seated feelings of inferiority.”

(Twerski 1997, p. 67)

Actually, what (Twerski 1997) calls “shame” seems more narcissistic contemplation of one's abominable condition. If it is shame of oneself, it is also desire to perpetuate one's self-shameful condition. Differently, shame may be, in my opinion, a positive feeling, complement of morality and of equilibrated behaviours.

According (Twerski 1997), addictive thinking is nonspiritual. So, recovery from addiction needs a shift from addictive thinking to spirituality, whatever kind of spirituality. Actually, the addict is furiously in love with one's own addiction, without any real space for any spiritual or whatever other “affective” sphere.

Twerski, A. J., Addictive Thinking. Understanding Self-deception, Hazelden Publishing, Center City, MN, USA, 1997.