I was talking to a friend recently about addictions and his thoughts on the subject can be reduced to one line 

“Anybody can stop if they really want to, it’s just a matter of the will.” 

Logically, yes, he’s absolutely right, anybody can do anything they put their minds to. Why, right now I can get up and say 

“Today, no matter what happens, I’m going to decide to be happy no matter what.” Or someone can say

“You know what? I don’t want to smoke anymore, so I’m done.”

But humanely, from a different standpoint, I feel like reducing addictions to a matter of sheer willpower is not that easy.

In my spare time, I am a Life Coach; I have coached many people from different sides of the social spectrum. Drug addicts, professionals, young adults, or fathers, you name it. I’ve seen how many of these men struggle with many different emotional or physical addictions that they seem unable to break. Personally, to ask

“Well, if you’re not stopping it’s because you must really not want to stop”

would seem downright offensive! 

If anything, that’s why I took this position, because I understand that sometimes, it’s not that easy. 

For example, take a twenty year old man who was sexually abused by his uncle throughout his childhood and that same kid could only find respite in drugs; because in so many words he says

“Drugs allow me to disassociate myself from the situation, drugs allow me a temporary relief so I don’t have to think about the pain.”

So, he begins to do drugs because emotionally he understands that drugs take away the pain. Now, fast forward ten years later, and he’s twenty years old. Now, due to his circumstances and decisions growing up, he has conditioned himself to veer away from any pain whatsoever. The pain of regret, the pain of loss, of rejection, of change, the pain of growth itself; and now when he feels threatened by pain, he finds refuge in the one place that has always greeted him with open arms…drugs. 

That same man comes to me and says,

“I’m tired of doing drugs, at one point they helped me block out the pain but now they’ve taken away everything I’ve loved, I just can’t can’t stop, I say I am but the pain is just too much and now they’re all I’ve got, please, help me quit!”

Now, tell me, Patient Reader, how can I simply look into this man’s face and say,

“You’re not off drugs because you simply don’t try hard enough.”

You see, it’s easy to sum up the problem of addiction in one sentence, but sometimes it’s hard to apply logic to illogical beings. We’re humans, we’re people, we hurt, sometimes we heal, we feel pain, we do things that don’t make sense rationally but they make sense to us emotionally. 

Addictions are a real thing, and many times they’re not that easy to break, and that’s ok, there is help and there is hope.