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Obsession is so extreme and so hard to imagine with the rational mind that it has a science-fiction-like quality to it--it's almost as if the obsessed one has been taken over by a replica, a pod, a facsimile of the rational person. When one is in the grip of an obsession, everything else--children, regular meals, sleep, work--is swept away. The entire being is one yearning, frothing bath of desire. It's the dirty trick of obsession that getting its way--spending time with the object of desire, having sex with the object of desire--doesn't lessen the obsession, but increases it. Although an addict, while obsessed, truly believes that being with the object of the obsession will cure the obsession, the opposite is true. When an alcoholic promises that all he needs is one last bender to achieve satisfaction, he's chasing a chimera.

SUSAN CHEEVER, Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction


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