You would be hard pressed to find an addict that decided to consciously take that first dose with an intention of becoming addicted, losing friends and family and have their lives spiraling out of control. It could start innocent enough, as an experiment or a dare. Or for an emotionally weathered person to find himself at difficult stages in their life and they take their drug of choice to alleviate the depression and stress. If it was not tragic, it would be funny, really – to avoid stress, depression or unpleasant relationships a person throws himself into a temporary mirage of an oasis only to doom himself for the hardship that is nothing compared to the problems he ran away from, to begin with. Sadly the punchline for that joke never ends with a laugh.
Whichever the case for the addict to find himself in the deep chasm of addiction, it is quite impossible for him to claw his way out all by himself. The way out takes a lot of time, perseverance, and support from loved ones and professionals alike.
I would wager that any addict who has fought their addiction and won first tried to do it in secret, ashamed from the stigma associated with drug use. All of them fail because while addicts own mental power and will to become clean is a huge factor, there is no such thing as “mind over matter” when it comes to fighting addiction. There are a lot of obscured facets to an addiction and craving is just one of them.
Some use drugs as a retreat from their problems, a sort of coping mechanism. While this helps short term, it creates more problems very shortly afterward, losing a job and income for example. The actual solutions to these problems get blurred away in ups and downs of having an addiction. To become clean, the addict has to essentially re-larn how to cope with the world without the crutch of drugs.
Then there are those, that slip into addiction because of their lifestyle choices and external pressure. Such a simple thing as availability can be a huge factor for a person to become addicted. Just having a dealer who can provide and fellow users who consider it normal can make the choice to experiment and inadvertently get hooked very appealing. Keeping company with other users also gives the addict a biased opinion of drug use and misguided acceptance of peers.
Either path leads to semi-permanent brain damage and ever-increasing urge to use. When the body is repeatedly flooded with chemicals that alter brain functions and patterns, it re-writes itself towards the new stimuli. Drugs usually provide a sense of intense euphoria and happiness, but it is important to understand that they act as a catalyst for the brain itself to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin which provides the feeling of pleasure. Our brain naturally creates it but in much smaller amounts during various life activities. A nice meal, favorite chocolate, and sex provide the same chemicals. A drug simply tricks the brain and sends it into overload when it comes to producing it. Repeated drug use re-write the regular brain patterns and external stimuli become necessary to induce these feelings of happiness and contentment. Worse yet, ever-increasing amounts are required to reach the same peaks. This vicious cycle repeats ad infinitum until the addict dies of an overdose or fatal organ failure.
It is never too late to become clean and is almost impossible without help. This help can come from many factors and sources, a good talk is all it takes in some lucky cases. Most require interventions by family and friends and more yet require inpatient rehabilitation programs, professional support, counseling and like-minded fellow addicts on their path to recovery. Successfully completing a rehabilitation course program gives the best chances for the addict to become clean for a number of factors. Such as inpatient rehabs provide refuge from availability and peer pressure of drug use. During their time there, the addict learns to cope without drugs in perfect peace and harmony, without the problems and company of other active drug users. The addict is taught structure and purpose, both in themselves and in their world. Counseling and on-going support from group therapy provide insight into the addiction and how to cope with in their lives.
By all means, become clean on your own, but when it inevitably fails, do not hesitate to seek help from friends, family, and trained professionals. It is never too late to be sober and genuinely happy.