Why is it so hard? The brain’s biochemistry has been changed, a major habit has been formed, peer pressure, social pressure, not knowing any other way to be, needing to be numbed, needing to be accepted, not being able to stop, and on and on.

The change in your brain disallows correct decision-making abilities. If you have used to the degree that you don’t “feel right” without the drug, then you continue to use. Some users have used since such early ages that they have absolutely no ability, no desire, no experience to do anything without being high. They cannot even imagine life without using. The very young addict has actually halted the normal development of their brains.

Most people, especially in the early stages of drug use, believe they can stop anytime they choose. It comes as quite a surprise to that find out they are wrong: they cannot stop. Unless they actively participate in treatment with therapy, meetings, and possibly medically assisted therapy, they most likely cannot stop on their own. It is essential for people to realize this. Drug addiction alters your brain, and even long after stopping, you are not completely healed. Some of the time, complete healing is not even possible.

If you remain in a social situation where your friends use, it will be impossible to stop even with therapy and treatment. If you live with a user, you will continue using. Temptation and opportunity are prevalent in our society. Drugs are everywhere, and for the most part, “casual” using is not frowned upon. The stigma of using drugs that was once a deterrent is no longer present. The problem is, no one knows when a person goes from a casual user to a full-blown addict. Once that happens, you have turned a corner. You can never again be a casual user. Many people leave treatment and think they can just have a “taste,” just a little, just on the weekends. It is essential that you realize that the part of your brain that is speaking is the addict. Pay attention. Call upon the other part of your brain to speak up.

You can stop using, but it is very difficult. Recovery is forever. While it is true that cravings diminish over time, you can never be cocky that you have this nailed. Relapse is common. Many attempts over time might happen. Many relapses. Never mistake any relapse failure as a final failure. There is no limit to the times you can go into treatment.

Using drugs is a progressive disease. Progressive in every way: you need more, more often; you need more money, have more excuses; more destruction happens in your life and in your relationships. Even knowing all these, people continue. They continue because they cannot control their behavior. But it is not impossible because we all know people that have been able to stay in recovery.

What a hold drugs have on the addict. I need look no further than the young women who go to treatment because they are heroin addicts and are pregnant and want badly to stop. Even carrying a child hasn’t stopped this using. More babies are being born addicted. These tiny babies have to actually go through a painful withdrawal. What a terrible thing to be born an addict. What a terrible thing to be unable to protect your child. Not unwilling—unable.

So why is it so hard to stop using? Because it is. Using is your kryptonite! Even Superman had an Achilles’ heel! And you’re only human! If this is you, get into treatment again. Now. You know you have to.