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How Abandonment Can Contribute to Addiction

Many of us can relate to having felt abandoned in one way or another in our lives, often in deep, meaningful, traumatic ways when we were children. We might have felt abandoned when a parent moved away because of divorce or separation. We might have been emotionally neglected or abused, causing us to feel abandoned. The grief we feel when someone dies can also cause us to feel abandoned. When we feel abandoned, it doesn’t usually matter whether or not the person intended to abandon us, or whether they had any negative intention at all. What matters is how the experience has made us feel, the traumatizing effects that experience can have on us, and how it impacts our lives moving forward. For many of us, any kind of abandonment can have a direct effect on the ways in which we live our lives, often in very destructive ways.

Emotional Escape

Feeling abandoned can have drastic implications for how we feel about ourselves, whether or not we are self-loving or self-deprecating, whether or not we are self-protective or self-destructive. When we feel abandoned, we often will look for something or someone to make us feel better, about our lives, our current situations, and who we are as people. We use an addictive substance, behavior or relationship to comfort us when we feel sad. We use it to make ourselves feel less insecure, inadequate and unworthy, all common emotions after feeling abandoned. We use it to calm ourselves down when we’re feeling anxious and scared. Our drugs of choice can become our escape tactic from the painful feelings we accumulate after having felt abandoned. 


When we’ve felt abandoned in any way, it can leave us feeling incomplete and empty, as if something is missing in our lives. We don’t feel whole as individuals. We feel ungrounded, imbalanced, off center and without direction. Our drugs of choice can be that external source of completion and validation we’re looking for to fill us up, complete us, and make us whole. When we’re dependent upon it, we can feel as though we can’t live without it. We can have the same feelings of panic and loss around our drug of choice, and running out of our supply for example, that we first experienced when we felt abandoned. The same emotional patterns can reemerge. To feel incomplete without a drug, behavior or relationship is a very lonely, painful place to be, and so we use in order to find the solace and peace we’re desperate for, that we haven’t learned how to create for ourselves.

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery? Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800. 3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488