Gabor Maté

“Like addiction itself, anxiety will always find a target, but exists independently of its targets. Only when we become aware of it does it wrap itself in identifiable colours. More often we repress it, bury it under ideas, identifications, deeds, beliefs and relationships. We build above it a mound of activities and attributes that we mistake for our true selves. We then expend our energies trying to convince the world that our self-made fiction is reality.

As genuine as our strengths and achievements may be, they cannot but feel hollow until we acknowledge the anxiety they cover up. Incompleteness is the baseline state of the addict. The addict believes — either with full awareness or unconsciously — that he is “not enough.” As he is, he is inadequate to face life’s demands or to present an acceptable face to the world. He is unable to tolerate his own emotions without artificial supports. He must escape the painful experience of the void within through any activity that fills his mind with even temporary purpose, be it work, gambling, shopping, eating or sexual seeking.”


Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction by Gabor Maté
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