It is common, when trying to lend a person empathy, to try to understand how they think and get inside their head. We attempt to do this for people going through a hard time or struggling mentally. We even attempt to do this when a person is abusing a substance. However, a person need not bother trying to understand why someone may abuse a substance. The fact is, there is no logic to discover, and the harder you try to understand substance abuse, the more tied into knots you will become.
Looking for logic in substance abuse can only result in unhealthy thinking on the part of the empathetic party. Much like Stockholm syndrome, a person trying to empathize with substance abuse is essentially relating to broken thinking, which is not good for anyone. Empathizing with this behavior can only result in justifying it, enabling it or getting sucked into substance abuse yourself. Justifying substance abuse is horribly counterproductive because there is no good reason for destructive behavior. Enabling it is doing a disservice to the substance abuser because it assists their self destruction. And emulating the substance abuse is a terrible practice of boundaries, self respect and good judgment.
The truth is that substance abuse is an absence of logic, a bad habit, a maladaptive behavior and a type of mental problem. Abusing a substance represents broken logic, not different logic, which does not deserve to be pursued. It is merely a type of bad habit that one develops because of underlying issues. It is also a way of coping with and interacting with the world that is maladaptive, meaning the individual engaging in it developed the habit against their own better self preservation. And lastly, substance abuse is a certified mental problem that entire treatment programs are geared toward correcting. It frequently comes with a type of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or ADHD.