Trying to understand addiction when you are not an addict is impossible. The reason it is impossible is because not even addicts understand why they do what they do. In fact, trying to understand addiction is a waste of time because there is no logic to follow. There is no logic to addiction, only destruction.
Addicts use their addiction to feel good, just like non-addicts use pleasurable things to feel good. Non-addicts may even distinguish their favorite pleasurable things to use more than others. The difference between an addict and a non-addict is that a non-addict is equipped with the ability to moderate their usage of pleasurable things and keep their lives in balance. They are aware of when they are overusing a pleasurable thing and it is having negative side effects on their life somewhere. Most importantly, they are equipped with the ability to stop doing the thing that is having negative effects on their lives, or at least reduce how often they use it. An addict does not come with this self preservation mechanism.
Mental health experts believe the reason that addiction exists boils down to dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical the brain produces during a pleasurable experience. Dopamine is what we spend much of our lives in pursuit of, as it signifies desirability and comfort. The brains of addicts have been revealed to not produce as much dopamine. Experts are unsure at this point what causes this stunted dopamine production, but it would seem that those who cannot create enough dopamine through the simple pleasures that everyone encounters turn to addictive substances as a way of gaining that much craved rush of dopamine.
If you are a non-addict trying to understand how an addict operates, the best thing you can do to empathize with them is reach out for help. Addiction treatment specialists, support groups and counselors can offer you excellent information to help you empathize with the plight of the addict in your life, as well as show you how to interact with them in a healthy way. There are addiction treatment services Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and in many more locations in North America.