The impulse to alter one’s consciousness is as old as human culture, and it is found in countless human pastimes. For many people, drugs are so desirable and compelling because they lead to the rarely felt experience of being able to connect more fully with split-off feelings and needs. Drugs are used to explore the domain between the polarities of total self-constraint and self-expression, self-love and self-hate, chaos and order, selfishness and selflessness, and emotionality and stoicism. Drugs have served as the keys to or initiators of first experiences of authentic, hidden aspects of self. People fall in love with drugs because under their influence they are temporarily opened to the possibility of being more free to feel more fully, to feel more accepting of parts of themselves that they had despised. This experience of open freedom with others temporarily disarms and decommissions the inner critic’s dire warnings. People often enter into this using behavior driven by a need to learn and explore, to come closer to who they are. They are generally propelled by a deep urge to heal. They embark on this exploration seeking potential therapeutic value, to embolden themselves to make lasting changes, to encounter uncharted frontier. However, these positive experiences can also lead to serious problems.
Andrew Tatarsky – Harm Reduction Psychotherapy p.225