Although both use the words attachment and addiction, only addiction has the same semantics. Attachment is used by each in an entirely different, even opposite sense.
In the first -- Addiction as an Attachment Disorder -- attachment refers to the "Attachment Theory" developed by John Bowlby, and now so widely accepted as to hardly be considered a theory anymore. In this case, attachment is a good thing -- "secure attachment" being a prerequisite for healthy child development and later-life psychological stability.
In the second case -- The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path -- attachment is used in the Buddhist sense: as an obstacle to spiritual development. The author, Christina Grof, is the wife of Stanislav Grof, famed pioneer of using LSD with terminal patients -- and source of a whole load of crap about "shamanism," "kundalini" yoga, and "spiritual emergency," (the latter basically the result of fucking about with your "chakras"). This second sense of "attachment" is typical of usage in the field of "transpersonal psychology" -- a more polite way of saying whacked out weirdos who used to call themselves New Age until it got too embarrassing.
Somewhere back in there, since 2002 or so, I realized that this difference in semantics is why I quit drinking 22 years ago -- and quit Buddhism at the same time. Took me a long time to understand that. Note in what follows that the "thirst for wholeness" that leads people to do alcohol and drugs, is the same impulse that draws them to "spiritual" trips of all kinds. This is the reverse of what Christina Grof is suggesting. If you qualify on either front, heads up. Word to the wise -- and otherwise.
Note also, and well -- although it doesn't say so in the following clips -- that the attachment problems referred to are generally the result of experience in the first three years of a child's life -- long before either kind of "spirit" is even a remote fantasy.
Addiction is a disorder in self-regulation. Individuals who become dependent on addictive substances cannot regulate their emotions, self-care, self-esteem, and relationships. In this monumental and illuminating text Philip Flores covers all the reasons why this is so. But it is the domain of interpersonal relations that he makes clear why individuals susceptible to substance use disorders (SUDs) are especially vulnerable. His emphasis on addiction as an attachment disorder is principally important because he provides extensive scholarly and clinical insights as to why certain vulnerable individuals so desperately need to substitute chemical solutions and connections for human ones.
Detached, alienated people, many of them functioning with a pathologically developed false self, barely navigate life's challenges. Our cultural emphasis on autonomy and separateness has led to a retreat from valuing interpersonal, communal dependence and has greatly contributed to a rise in the number of people whose suffering is often expressed in addictions and personality disorders. Using actual patient material including diaries and letters, Karen Walant's Creating the Capacity for Attachment shows how "immersive moments" in therapy -- moments of complete understanding between patient and therapist -- are powerful enough to dislodge the alienated, detached self from its hiding place and enable the individual to begin incorporating his or her inner core into his or her external, social self.
I wrote about this guy before in Positively Fourth Street, ending that post, "Call me a negative unhappy pessimist, but fuck you, Marty." Was that nice? Was it fair? You can decide for yourself after listening to this huckster's pitch for his $9.95 per month web subscription on "positive psychology." I just sent him a lot more than that by buying a small truckload of books on this fast-emerging new-paradigm hot-shit breakthrough "science." So plan to hear more from me about all that real soon. Remember: my negative psychology interventions are only $0.00 per month -- and you can cancel at any time. I wish I could also afford a subscription to the closely related Journal of Happiness Studies (!!!) so I could pee in their soup, too.
Marty? Are you listening, baby? As Jimi once said (in a slightly different context), "I'm comin' ta getcha!"
posted by Christopher Locke at #
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Get a load of the latest hottest bullshit to come down the New Age pike: The Secret...
And here's the far more dramatic, far more (dare I say it?) astoundingtrailer!
From the book and video...
This is really fun. It's like having the Universe as your catalogue. You flip through it and say, "I'd like to have this experience and I'd like to have that product and I'd like to have a person like that." It is You placing your order with the Universe. It's really that easy.