Earlier chapters have examined the various ways in which the intensifying strength of intimacy in an addictive relationship is paralleled by reducing levels of intensity in other intimacies. The emphasis on the strength of these processes risks giving the impression that addictive relationships become too strongly embedded to allow any change. But this impression is certainly not what is intended; people in addictive social systems can and do—throug considerable effort—make changes to these systems. Since social processes have played a critical role in the emergence of addictive relationships, this book contends that social processes also offer opportunities for restoring people into an interconnected, nonaddictive social world. The big opportunity that will be explored in this and subsequent chapters concerns the potential of collective strength between people in counteracting and reversing the trend toward fragmentation. It proposes that groups of people associated with the addictive relationship can connect with each other in ways that override fragmentation processes. In a world of improving social relationships the addictive relationship becomes increasingly isolated; it has no real currency and spins by itself like an unattached cog. The person in the addictive relationship can no longer manage both worlds. He or she is confronted with having to choose between intimacy with the addictive substance/process or intimacy with people. Pursuit of both intimacies becomes increasingly less viable. Furthermore, even when the choice is made in favor of the addictive substance/process, improved social integration lessens the impact of the addictive relationship on other intimates, thereby freeing intimates to pursue their own pathways to improved well-being.
KeywordsCollective Action Social World Social Connectedness Work Colleague Particle Responsibility
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