"Egomaniac with an inferiority complex" is a phrase that tends to describe the psychological make up of many addicts and alcoholics, in active addiction and in recovery. It is a phrase that articulates both the cause of drug and alcohol addiction and the resistant and defiant element to recovery and transformation. It is a phrase that if unpacked can give us a clue to the real solution to drug and alcohol addiction, including and especially to the current drug epidemic.
The ego is that part of the addict and alcoholic that pretends, pretends that they know, pretends that they have it together, pretends that what matters is looking good, pretends that they do not have an self esteem issue, pretends that they have good self esteem, pretends that the problem is about the drugs and alcohol and not them. The ego usually comes back into control when the addict or alcohol starts to feel better physically, after detox or discharge from a residential treatment program.
The inferiority complex reveals to us the true cause of drug and alcohol addiction. The inferior complex is all about the existence of a negative self image and poor self esteem, the driving force behind and the fundamental cause of a person using drugs and alcohol. Created by Dr. Alfred Adler, a peer of Dr. Carl Jung, the inferiority complex tends to get suppressed or denied especially as the individual leaves detox and starts to feel better physically.
However, soon after the ego takes back control of the addict's or alcoholic's life, the thoughts and especially feelings from the inferiority complex start to drift back into the conscious life of the individual. Unable and ill equipped from their tour in a residential treatment program the addict and alcoholic starts to feel overwhelmed from the depressed and anxious feelings that are emerging and the cravings to use start back again. Ignorant to the process of how to heal oneself, the individual tends to use again, starting the cycle over once more.
It is only by exploring the suppressed, negative thoughts of their self image and the addict's and alcoholic's story that is generated from their inferiority complex, that the individual will have a chance of transforming his life and ending his addiction to drugs and alcohol. The ego is an unhealthy defense mechanism whose purpose is to reduce the anxiety and depression created by the individual's negative self image and poor self esteem. In the end, the ego attempts to cover up the true cause of addiction from the addict and alcoholic, again another pretending.
The only path that will bring true recovery and transformation is to talk about the anxiety and depression, to help the addict and alcoholic to become present their inferiority complex and help them to transform it. Repressing the inferiority complex more with the ego, pretending that it does not exist, will not make it go away. The inferiority complex will continue to push to be revealed in order to be healed. If the addict and alcoholic does not deal with the inferiority complex in a healthy manner, it will deal with the addict and alcoholic in a unhealthy and potentially deadly manner.
Dr. Harry Henshaw