People are often afraid to look deep into themselves. The whole world may be showing them a problem they need to confront, but they seek help in flight from it. A sadness and emptiness develops within them which cannot be allayed. So they reach out for some "comforter", attempting to fill this emptiness in some way. It can be alcohol, drugs, medicines, sex, gambling, cigarettes, excessive work, watching television, computer games, excessive chattering, constant attention to looks etc. We don't realize that, in fact, we are running away from ourselves, fearing to find out what the real cause of the emotion that keeps coming back to us, asking to be healed. We behave like the proverbial ostriches which hide their heads in the sand when they're afraid to create the illusion that they are safe. In the same way a person who doesn't want to measure up to their problem will reach for a "comforter" thinking that this will help to escape from a burning issue. But problems don't solve themselves, indeed they grow at an astonishing rate, laying one on top of the other. Our flight is joined by other people in flight, both the living and the dead. We could spend a long time wondering what came first, the chicken or the egg. The same applies to the question: did we start to use a "comforter" first and then the ghosts hooked up to us, or did the ghosts hooking up to us make us start, for instance, drinking or any other addiction.
Depending on who is the stronger, the ghost or we, that will be the one who takes the lead. The consequences are discussed further down. I'll write about alcoholism, but if we changed that word to drug-addiction, pill-addiction, sexual addiction, workaholism, perfectionism, gambling etc. the chapter would be just the same. Nearly all the dependencies mentioned here may lead to death, but there are people who are cured even of the most far advanced stage of this terrible illness.