Condition in which jouissance is localised in and reduced to a particular object. It is more or less narcissistic, dependent upon subjective fantasy; at its extreme, it can almost be asocial. The ascension of addiction to a position of prime importance in the contemporary clinical world can be understood as correlative of the decline of the ego ideal (and paternal authority), and the rise of the superego (manifest in the imperative to enjoy). Addiction can be found across all clinical structures, but has some particular affinities with phobia, perversion and melancholia. The maintenance of an addiction constitutes the triumph of the drive over desire. Consequently, a subject can analyse his or her addiction without there being any guarantee of relinquishing it. (Whilst analysis is no guaranteed cure for addiction, nothing else is either. Medicalising the problem often results in failure. For example, obtaining Buprenorphine from one’s doctor is not at all likely to replicate the jouissance and phantasmatic configuration of ‘scoring’ heroin from one’s associates). It should be remembered that the aim of a drive is not its object, and in addiction, the former is often aligned with death.
‘…It has dawned on me that masturbation is the one major habit, the “primal addiction” and that it is only as a substitute and replacement for it that the other addictions – for alcohol, morphine, tobacco, etc – come into existence.’
Freud, Letter 79 to Fliess.
He swears every now and then to begin a better life.
But when night comes with its own counsel,
its own compromises and prospects—
when night comes with its own power
of a body that needs and demands,
he goes back, lost, to the same fatal pleasure.
Cavafy, ‘He swears’.