Healthy self esteem is the end product of sufficient age appropriate responsiveness and parental
Healthy parent role models provide the other necessary component of idealization that leads
to healthy narcissism; which is basic to emotional health and consists of a subjective sense of well being and confident in one's self worth.
People feel a balanced valuation of their importance and potential and can relate in nature ways to others will usually have a sense of meaning and know how they fit in the world.
In contrast to this, even though the majority of addicts and alcoholics appear to be very successful and can be high achievers in their professional lives, those who work with these patients on a consistent basis are struck by how fragile their basic sense of self worth has been. Despite their exaggerated striving for financial and intellectual success, their need for approval and acceptance leave them consistently vulnerable to injury, rejection, shame, and humiliation.
Individuals whose developing selves have been insufficiently responded to will use any available stimuli to create a pseudo excitement in order to ward off the painful feeling of deadness that overtake them.
Adults have at their disposal a wide variety of self-stimulation--in particular in the sexual sphere, addictive promiscuous activities and various perversions, and in the non-sexual sphere, such activities as gambling, drug and alcohol induced excitement and a lifestyle characterized by hyper-sociability. When the therapist is able to penetrate through the facade presented by these activities, they will invariably find depression.
Addiction as an Attachment Disorder
Philip J. Flores