Psychology

The Identity in Addiction

Seeing the role of the psyche as the substance

Leo Greenwood
Black Bear
Published in
7 min readApr 2, 2024

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a cyanotype print of a moon in a green sky at night, behind a shadowed tree-line
Created by the author

Living With Addiction

I loved and lived with someone very close to me who classed herself as having ‘an addictive personality’. She said it was part of who she was, and that she was ‘broken and damaged’ as a “fact”.

I don’t believe that people are inherently bad or broken. To me it seems that these are beliefs we accumulate and then come to accept; they’re not ‘objectively true,’ we just believe they are — which is subjective. Back then I saw the beauty, the Buddha, God, in everything I looked at, but not consistently. Sometimes I got lost when I saw pain and suffering. I got overwhelmed by the desire to alleviate it so the sufferer can be free of their upset and feel the natural happiness that preceded it.

This disparity in our worldviews was a source of many disagreements. I found myself paradoxically arguing against her for her inherent self-worth. No matter how gently and how many times I shared my view, “No you aren’t,” “That’s not true,” “But I don’t believe that,” it was like trying to light a fire in the rain. Contradiction, it turns out, is the weakest possible strategy one can adopt.

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Leo Greenwood
Black Bear

The Universe thinks about itself in interesting ways from here. Philosopher, author, in love with the miracle of existence. leogreenwood.com