The monkey prefers the high of nicotine to emotional pain, and once it’s hooked, it will feel frustration and eventually panic when it doesn’t get the high it wants. This can be observed when a person quits smoking. Frustration is that emotion the gives us energy to keep going in face of adversity. The frustrated monkey will keep going and going in the face of adversity, the adversity being the escalating levels of painful emotions the monkey wants to escape and the overwhelming urge to smoke. The monkey will smoke more cigarettes, inhale deeper and even use other drugs such as coffee or beer in combination with cigarettes to get the high and numb the painful emotions. The monkey will do anything needed to escape the painful emotions and the human will do anything to completely submerge the conscious mind in the ritual and escape the mundane world. This is when the conscious mind and the subconscious mind work together to cause havoc in the physical body in the form of tar build-up, liver damage and chronic disease. The painful emotions are momentarily repressed, although unreleased, and add up over time to come back even stronger. Higher doses of nicotine are needed to achieve the desired effect of numbing emotions and the momentary escape from the mundane world. The habit is slowly established over time and we eventually feel helpless to change it.
A person drinking to the point of throwing up, only to keep drinking until passing out, waking up in the morning to have another drink is no longer in the “celebrating life and having fun”-category. This is escape from painful emotions and the mundane world taken to the extreme end of the spectrum. The habit has become the purpose of life and there is no amount of negative feedback that can change the habit. The physical pain and discomfort of the drinking habit is preferable to the dull mundane reality and painful emotions. The physical pain is more tangible and will subside will little to no effort (stay in bed the next day and drink lots of water), it is the existential pain that just won’t go away, and given a choice we tend to opt for the tangible physical pain, rather than the intangible existential pain. The hours lost drinking, the energy spent being hung over and the lost health are not wasted, rather, they are sacrificed at the altar of numbing intangible unquantifiable emotional pain.