Addictions stem from pain. When we have pain that we don't know how to cope with, it swells in our psyche and feels like hell.
This pain causes acute anxiety. The anxiety is fueled by fear, and the fear is fueled by a succession of thoughts. The thoughts in turn are fueled by experiences, and those thoughts structure the ego.
An addiction is a reaction to adversity. It's an unskillful attempt at coping. An addiction is comprised of any behavior that we do repetitively that can be destructive to our own minds and bodies and destructive to the outside world.
We're all driven by the desire to feel good. This begins at birth. We cry when we are born because we are in discomfort, and we're fed milk, given love, and touched lovingly by those who want to soothe our discomfort.
After we're born, we begin a 20-year journey of learning about life and attempting to comfort ourselves simultaneously. During this time, our character development will be shunted if we encounter discord, mistreatment, or neglect. If that happens, our natural coping mechanisms might fail us and we might then react improperly in response to our anxious feelings.
Our improper responses will exact consequences. We will attach ourselves to the wrong things. We will act unskillfully. We will drift from true reality. Our minds will wander to places that don’t benefit us. We will engage in addictive behaviors, and we will suffer.
But this need not be our fate. We can cease our addictions and addictive behavior patterns. We can find relief if we work at it. It will take time to absorb knowledge into our consciousness, change our behavior, and heal. But we can—so let’s do it!