Willpower is a definite factor in ongoing sobriety, but willpower alone rarely helps someone struggling with substance abuse and other addictive behaviors without the help provided by treatment programs.
The Brain’s Reaction to Substance Abuse
At some point in the cycle of substance abuse, the brain begins to change in ways that make it difficult if not impossible to stop using the substance using willpower alone. For some, that point comes very quickly, while for others, it may take months or years of regular use.
Some people’s brains are hard-wired to become addicted to drugs or alcohol more easily than other people’s. Relying on willpower to overcome addictions may work for an initial period, but as motivation wanes and life wears people down, they find it more and more difficult to maintain sobriety with willpower alone, and relapse becomes more likely.
The average person in rehab in Colorado and elsewhere has tried to quit by using willpower, usually multiple times. They tell themselves that they can stop, will stop, using the addictive substance, but they find themselves using it again despite their promises to themselves and others to stop.
It Is Not About Character
Most people who abuse substances are deeply ashamed that they have not been able to stop the abuse with just willpower, but it does not mean your character is suspect if you cannot stop using on your own.
Admitting that you need treatment to overcome addictive behavior and become sober is one of the most character-filled actions you can take. It is not easy to admit you need help, but choosing addiction treatment shows good character and is the beginning of even more good choices.
Time Is of the Essence
Whether you became an addict nearly overnight or over a period of years, it will take some time for your brain to heal and to rewire itself so you can get back to a normal level of functioning.
Unlike many medical treatments which happen in hours and have a very short recovery time, addiction requires significant recovery time. You, your family, and friends must be patient and willing to spend the weeks or months it will take for you to overcome the powerful cravings that make addictive behaviors so difficult to resist. Although willpower alone is rarely enough to overcome addiction, it is part of the solution as the grip of the addiction loosens enough for choice to once again become an option.
For some substance abuse situations, medications are available to help with detox and initial or long-term treatment. Medications can make it easier to resist substance abuse and can provide a safe and effective help in getting your brain back to normal again.
It is not a sign of weakness to use medication to overcome addiction; these treatments have been proven to help addicts be more successful in treating their addictions and avoiding relapse.
Learn about admissions to Recovery Village at Palmer Lake for effective treatments to help you or a loved one overcome addiction.