Consequently, if detoxed addicts cannot replace addiction with something that is as equally compelling and consuming they will remain vulnerable to addiction’s allures.
And yet, as we’ve seen, modernity, because it lacks a Story, cannot give us anything as compelling or consuming. Thus we remain ever vulnerable to addictive habits and lifestyles.
Beyond filling the existential void, addiction also reduces the feeling of loneliness in modernity. As Dunnington says, “Lonely people make good addicts.”
Again, loneliness is a uniquely modern problem. We are, as Robert Putnam has so ably documented, “bowling alone.”
Addiction thrives in this social vacuum. Addiction often starts in social contexts, is sustained by circles of friends, and is often maintained by a webs of connection between fellow users and suppliers. And even when addiction isolates us from others it does so by becoming a surrogate “friend.” Addicts often refer to the chemical they are addicted to as their “best friend.” Addiction is a companion.