Why adoptees become addicts

From an article on Amy Winehouse:

Here’s why: a key pillar of addiction is often self-hatred and an inability to see oneself as worthy of love. In songs like “You Know I’m No Good,” and “Back to Black,” Winehouse made those feelings painfully plain. If you’re an addict, that belief has probably always been with you. You may make a desperate attempts to pile up evidence otherwise—Look at my million-selling songs! My stadiums full of adoring fans! My husband who tolerates whatever I dish out! But it can’t possibly be enough.  You know that if they really knew you, they’d hate you.

For obvious reasons, this makes relationships almost impossible.  The stress of being unable to take in love and social support feels unbearable and can warp the personality.  Indeed, research suggests this may be one of the worst forms of stress we can experience, since our emotional systems are designed to be buffered by social contact and cannot balance themselves without it.

So many adoptees walk around with this belief…that deep down they are unworthy, that if people *really and truly* knew them, they’d hate them.

Addiction isn’t always the stereotypical alcoholic or messed up junkie.  No, addiction is often the woman next door who quiets her pain with food or books, or the teen who really can’t live without that phone, or the 40-something guy who feels that fight or flight response kick in when anyone in his life shows some unhappiness, and will either do anything to get that back or shut everyone out before it happens again.

Paul Sunderland has a wonderful lecture on Adoption and Addiction.


It's lovely to have you here. Please keep comments respectful of the adoptees who read here. "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

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