From the Awl:
The cynicism with which adults rebel comes from the nihilism of doing what you know is bad for you because you’re old enough to understand that these things usually go unpunished. The kind of joyless self-indulgence that adults traffic in doesn’t exist for teenagers. For the young, it’s unfathomable that act of self-indulgence can bring anything but joy. In the twilight of childhood, you’re not sure what’s like to be an adult but you know what it feels like to not be a child. Every brush with adult behavior-anything from smoking, to sneaking out, to driving, to fucking-is wrapped in a gauzy, loving haze. (It’s bittersweet though: as the twilight of childhood dims, there is within the heart of every teenager a dull throb that comes with the mourning of lost innocence.)
What’s alarming, then, is when grown-ups act like teenagers: denying themselves nothing, cherishing their transgressions like merit badges, constantly chasing the beginning of something, unable to parse the sensations of joys from despair.
Almost all addicts are childishly immature; full of demands, empty of offerings. When they want something, they it want it yesterday, and they want it effortlessly. Nothing is their fault-the addiction, their degradation, their desperation…. Psychiatrists who have studied them over long periods know that most of them are extremely narcissistic, that their intense preoccupation with heroin is a surface manifestation of a more profound emotional preoccupation with themselves.