Why Can’t I Stop On My Own?
“I can stop whenever I want.” It’s almost clich?, but this is the phrase most addicts say to themselves at some point. They begin with the belief that they can stop using drugs or alcohol on their own, without help from anyone. Unfortunately most attempts at sobriety fail without outside support or treatment.
Why can’t drug abusers just quit? Researchers have discovered that long-term drug or alcohol abuse actually changes the way the brain works. These changes, which can last long after the addict stops the abuse, creates the compulsion to use drugs, regardless of negative consequences such as poor health, relationship problems, legal/professional problems etc.
So if you accept the argument that addiction is the result of actual change in brain function, you can begin to understand what profound effort is required to overcome these changes. A professional treatment program and ongoing support from other recovering addicts is the key to achieving and maintaining sobriety. Without removing oneself from the stimuli which encourages drug use (friends, stress, family, etc.) the brain doesn’t have sufficient time to create new, healthy neuropathways and relapse is more likely.
Willing participation in a treatment program gives an addicted individual their best chance of recovery.