As the process claims more of the persons self and lifeworld his becomes his primary relationship to the detriment of all others. Strange as it sounds to speak of a bottle of alcohol, a drug, a gambling obsession or any other such compulsive behavior as a love object, this is precisely what goes on in advanced addictive illness. This means that in there is always infidelity to other love objects such as spouses and other family - for the very existence of signifies an allegiance that is at best divided and at worst -and more commonly- betrayed. For there comes a stage in every serious addiction at which the paramount attachment of the person is to the addiction itself. Those unfortunates who attempt to preserve a human relationship to individuals in the throes of progressive almost always sense their own secondary "less than" status in relation to the problem- and despite the passionate and indignant denials of this reality, they are right: the person does indeed love his proble, more than he loves them.
"The specific behavior that characterizes alcoholism is the consumption of significant quantities of alcohol on repeated occasions. The subjective motivating factor underlying this behavior is often obscure. When drinkers are asked why they drink excessively, they will occasionally attribute their drinking to a particular mood such as depression or anxiety or to situational problems. Many times they simply describe an overpowering "need" to drink, variously described as a craving or compulsion. Just as often, however, the drinking is unable to give any plausible explanation for his or her excessive drinking(Goodwin 1993). Drinking relieves guilt and anxiety; however, it then also produces anxiety and depression(Davis 1971). The symptoms associated with depression and anxiety disorders, such as terminal insomnia, low mood, irritability, and anxiety attacks with chest pain, palpitations, and dyspnea often occur. Alcohol seems to relieve these symptoms, resulting in a vicious cycle of drinking followed by depression followed by drinking that ultimately leads to a withdrawal syndrome. Sometimes the patient succeeds in stopping drinking for several days or weeks only to "fall off the wagon" again (Goodwin 1981). Despair and hopelessness are common. By the time the patient contacts the physician, they have often reached rock bottom. Their problems have become so numerous that they feel nothing can be done for them. At this point they may finally be ready to acknowledge their problem but feel powerless to stop drinking(Goodwin 1993)." From the article