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Can Someone Overcome Addiction?

The straight answer is yes. But that is not all, because addiction can be a complicated issue. Especially when the abuse has been ongoing for some extended time, it also depends on what substance is being abused. For instance, when a person is using marijuana, the effects are long term. It can take many weeks, even months, to notice the changes in mood, behavior, and general health. Whereas with opiates, it’s possible to detect these within days or a couple of weeks. Alcohol is a substance that can be either slow or quick in demonstrating physical changes. It also depends on the type of alcohol (hard liquor or beer) and the amount of time one has been consuming. It is also noticeable that some dependencies strike a lot quicker, like cocaine or meth. While other substances are harder to quit for good, as seen with crack and alcohol, for instance. But all this has much to do with what a person is actually attempting to relieve.

Underlying Causes

When treating addiction to any mind-altering substance, underlying the actual substance misuse is some painful personal situation. This does not account for a prenatal substance abuse condition that predisposes to addiction. When a person faces a difficult life situation, it can cause emotional pain or psychological discomforts. The situation in life can vary quite a bit and is sometimes hidden in the subconscious, such as childhood trauma, bullying, the loss of a loved one, a failure, relationship breakups, or just plain boredom. There exist as many painful or unwanted issues as people are struggling with addiction problems.

Life Skills & Addiction

The main fact is that a person with sufficient life skills can usually overcome difficult life issues. Those lacking in these skills find themselves having to live with an unfavorable condition having no solutions. A person will want the effects of drugs, alcohol, or medications to cope. But there is a trap! One knows that any substance intended to lessen discomfort does it by numbing out the source. The long-existing aspirin has been doing just that for generations without addressing the cause of the pain. Hence, we keep having headaches. But addiction is a long-term continual condition, unlike the flu or headaches, which are temporary.

So, a person finds that mind-altering substances make the condition more bearable. They take the edge off or remove uncomfortableness in certain situations. Once the drug wears off, all of it comes back, and more of the substance is needed. Often the body builds a tolerance, and the person requires a higher dosage. Eventually, the individual uses more frequently with higher dosages. This “quick fix” to solve a problem creates dependency. But can it be overcome? Is a person able to live without drugs or alcohol, etc.?

Can Addiction be Overcome?

With all this, the answer is still YES. A person suffering from mild to severe addiction will not be willing to stop, even when they state wanting. Part of the reason is the hardship of withdrawal symptoms, cared for by professional detox providers. Otherwise, the person fears resurfacing anxieties, pains, discomforts, and emotional trauma. It will happen and is expected and welcomed. The difficulty is when there is no qualified addiction counselor close to helping the person with these issues. Without experienced help and support from addiction therapy, this is hard on the person.

It takes a certain understanding of these personal concerns to help an individual effectively. Many centers will have staff who have firsthand experience with their drug abuse or addiction. Helping an addict means being able to spot the manipulative habits they have cultivated to survive as a substance user. Also, in many good, reputed facilities, they provide experts in various fields to aid and counsel the specific issues that arose.

The Key Factors & Intervention

The key factor required to overcome addiction to any substance is, first and foremost, a desire to change. Secondly, it takes strong support from relatives and friends, no matter how destructive the person was as an addict. Following this is continued encouragement while going through detox and the rehabilitation process. After, you as a relative or friend, it’s especially important to be there for the aftercare and follow-up steps of sobriety.

But in some instances, the key factor, “the will to change,” is not present. This can happen; keep in mind the abusing addict is under the falsehood that their abuse of various drugs is the only solution they know. You can get guidance from a referral and consultation counselor who knows addiction and services available at all levels. Or, you can get the aid of an interventionist; most centers are affiliated with one.


As a very last-ditch effort, when all of the above is done, and the person is still on a destructive path dragging anyone and everything down with them, knowing when to cut the ties for one’s wellbeing is important. Sometimes, this cut-off will give the person the incentive to do something about it; it is called tough love. Before doing this, keep in mind that every person does things differently; one way may be successful while another is not. It is a fact that not every approach works for an individual. Talk to an addiction counselor to help you through whatever question or difficulties you have.

Susan is a Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist and does On-Line Counseling. She also works as a Drug & Alcohol Addiction Consultant helping families find help.