In most approaches to the treatment and understanding of addiction, the focus is on the addictive behavior itself, or on the object of the addiction–the drug of choice. Addiction is often seen as a result of genetic or physical factors, or worse, as a moral failing. My approach (influenced by the work of Lance M. Dodes, M.D.) meets addiction at its source—the underlying feelings that drive a person to reach for something to make them feel better. People use addictive behavior to ease or counteract feelings of helplessness, powerlessness and shame. Because of this, people who suffer and struggle with addiction are no different than people wrestling with other symptoms, like anxiety or depression. When the symptom of addiction is correctly understood as an action taken to manage overwhelming feelings of helplessness, it can clearly be seen as a treatable problem. As buried feelings become known and named, clients begin to understand themselves and their behavior, and eventually gain a sense of control and choice.