Not only will they have difficulties identifying their feelings, they are inadequate in communicating them to others. The large lesson to the substance abuser has to learn is that emotions are not only vital to self understanding, but also crucial to the understanding of others' feelings and the negotiation of all forms of intimacy in personal relationships.
Addicts and alcoholic's inability to verbalize feelings leads to the somatization of their emotional responses. Consequently, the substance abuser is confronted with sensations rather than feelings.
Such sensations are not useful as signals but remain painfully overwhelming. These painful affect states call attention only to the substance abuser's discomfort rather than the story behind the discomfort.
Many, if not all of their feeling translate into physical complaints about their physical discomfort and cravings. Alcohol and drugs are used to block the emotion, preventing the substance abuser from interpreting and attending to the signal. Thinking becomes operative, mundane and boring. The capacity for empathy is seriously diminished.
Experiences with early developmental need failures leave certain individuals with vulnerabilities that enhance addictive type behaviors, and these behaviors are misguided attempts at self repair. Deprivation of age appropriate developmental needs leave the substance abuser constantly searching for something "out there" that can be substituted for what is missing "in here."
Alcoholics and addicts are notoriously counter-dependent individuals. Autonomy is purchased at the price of alienation and the absence of mutuality in their relationships. Group therapy contains a fundamental interpersonal conception of human beings as always being situated in relations to others. Group therapy is based on the implied notion
that the essence of being human is social not individual.
Addiction as an Attachment Disorder - Flores