One of the best known symptoms of drug abuse and addiction problems is the individual’s insistence that nothing is wrong and they can quit any time they want–but they simply don’t choose to. The truth is that most individuals who are suffering from drug abuse and addiction recognize that they have a problem and they need to put an end to it. However, with this realization often comes a strong sense of embarrassment and shame regarding one’s drug use and inability to resolve it. A sense of individual willpower, or the “I can do it myself” attitude, can be born of this.
Letting Go of Individual Willpower
There is no arguing the fact that the drug abusing or addicted individual himself is entirely responsible for his condition. At some point in his life he decided that drug use was necessary and appropriate, perhaps in order to better cope with some physical, mental or emotional discomfort he was experiencing. The choice to use drug substances was entirely their’s, though they may feel there was peer pressure or encouragement that pushed them along this path. It was also their choice when they decided that drug use was helpful and should therefore continue, and when they decided that drug tolerance should be “handled” by increasing their drug consumption. At any of these points, one could argue that should he wish to exercise his individual willpower, the drug abuser would be able to overcome his drug problems and abstain from further drug use. However, when he crosses over into drug dependence and addiction, things change.
Drug dependence occurs when the individual’s body has not only acclimated to the presence of drug substances, it has actually incorporated these chemical substances into its normal functions and now depends upon them in order to continue operating normally. Any reduction or elimination in the individual’s drug use is punished by uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and the individual finds himself effectively trapped in perpetual drug use.
If a drug addicted individual truly could handle their drug problems on their own, it’s safe to say that most of them would no longer have these problems. After all, it is usually quite apparent to them that drugs have adversely affected their life and need to be eliminated, even if they refuse to admit this to others. Developing strong, healthy relationships with sober and recovered individuals can help the individual to understand that they are not alone in their journey to lasting recovery and that others truly understand what they are going through. Because of this, individual willpower can stand in the way of their full recovery.
Life itself is full of challenges that will test an individual’s determination and strength, and they are simply not expected to succeed alone. In order to truly survive well, the individual will need to establish a strong support network of friends who can help them push through the difficult times, and this is definitely true of drug addiction recovery.
Making a change in one’s life takes great courage, especially when one is contemplating the many withdrawal symptoms that come with abstaining from further drug use. Many people would like to believe that they have courage enough to make it through this difficult part of the recovery process, but when they are actually in the throes of painful withdrawal symptoms their courage may very well desert them and be replaced by a desire to seek relief in any form–including through the ingestion of more drug substances. A strong support network allows one to reach out for help from others and begin the process of letting go of old, dangerous habits in favor of establishing new ones in recovery. It also allows one to learn from others who have successfully broken through their fear and shame in order to achieve full and lasting recovery.