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Abstract

Addictions always originate in unhappiness, even if hidden. They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain. The first question — always — is not “Why the addiction?” but “Why the pain?” The answer, ever the same, is scrawled with crude eloquence on the wall of my patient Anna’s room at the Portland Hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: “Any place I went to, I wasn’t wanted. And that bites large.”

Addictions always originate in unhappiness, even if hidden. They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain. The first question — always — is not “Why the addiction?” but “Why the pain?” The answer, ever the same, is scrawled with crude eloquence on the wall of my patient Anna’s room at the Portland Hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside: “Any place I went to, I wasn’t wanted. And that bites large.”

 

 

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