Firstly we have anecdotal evidence for this. In the fellowships we watch the progression of this illness - when people lose everything they've got just to satiate their brains.  The chemical that most closely resembles lust is cocaine - how it affects the brain and what it lights up in the PET scan studies. Lust captures the brain almost identically to cocaine. And if you talk to a cocaine addict, they'll tell you that their second hit was never as good as the first one. I've worked with thousands of cocaine addicts and they continue to progress through diminishing returns. And they go right on down the line until it doesn't work at all. (The first hit is a pure hit. The second hit comes after the brain has re-established or "reset" itself. I'll tell you what that means later).

I experienced this with alcohol. I reached the point where I couldn't drink enough to get drunk. I could stop the diarrhoea, I could stop the shaking, but I couldn't turn off the bubble machine. Now, it was roaring with all that I'd begun with and all that I'd since done and the people I'd done it to.  The shame was almost unbearable. Sustained shame is probably the most self-centred thing anyone can have. It's me sitting as judge, jury and executioner of myself. I'm playing God.

The second aspect of progression was described by Jellineck in the late 50s and early 60s. On average, it takes seven and a half years of drinking, before an adult falls off the alcoholic cliff. Adolescent alcoholism is an entirely different disease. The only commonality is that neither of us can drink successfully. Bill Wilson talked about this in the Big Book. He said that women would be affected much more severely than men. He also said that younger people drink differently from older people. In such cases, we may be seeing some individual differences in addiction or compulsivity. But, in every case, we have to find relief in a constructive manner, without destroying ourselves and everything that we love.