One common characteristic of addiction is that the addict wants to satisfy their desires now. They want their cravings satisfied immediately. They want their needs met instantly. There is little patience, endurance, and serenity. Instead, an addict’s focus is on life’s demands (cravings, pains, triggers) and meeting those demands as soon as possible with drugs and alcohol that can self-soothe.
There are a few contributing factors that create this pattern in someone. The first is the way that drinking or drug use might have started. It’s common for men and women to turn to drugs and alcohol if they are feeling pain. When there is depression, anxiety, shame, anger, or any psychological state that is uncomfortable, it’s easy to want to turn to substances to soothe themselves. As the addiction develops and gets worse, the need to self-soothe might get stronger and stronger. The need to satiate your emotional, physical, and psychological pains becomes more intense, weakening the ability to delay gratification.
Another reason why someone might not be able to delay their gratifications is because they may be impulsive. Impulsivity is also a common trait among addicts, and it might be the very pattern that contributes to an addiction in the first place. Being impulsive makes it difficult to take a step back from cravings and wait until it passes. Instead, those who are impulsive tend to jump on what their feeling in the moment.