Jon Elster

Cravings can […] be induced by what we may call the secondary rewards from addiction. To explain this idea, let me recall my own experience as a former heavy smoker who quit almost 30 years ago when my consumption reached 40 cigarettes a day. Even today I vividly remember what it was like to organize my whole life around smoking. When things went well, I reached for a cigarette. When things went badly, I did the same. I smoked before breakfast, after a meal, when I had a drink, before doing something difficult, and after doing something difficult. I always had an excuse for smoking. Smoking became a ritual that served to highlight salient aspects of experience and to impose structure on what would otherwise have been a confusing morass of events. Smoking provided the commas, semicolons, question marks, exclamation marks, and full stops of experience. It helped me to achieve a feeling of mastery, a feeling that I was in charge of events rather than submitting to them. This craving for cigarettes amounts to a desire for order and control, not for nicotine.

Jon Elster, Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction, and Human Behavior, Boston, 1999, p. 64