While most rehabilitation treatment facilities and programs encourage individuals to work toward a completely drug-free, happy and productive future, some individuals may wonder why they cannot simply trade their addiction for moderation. After all, if an individual can control their alcohol consumption so that it is not harmful, or maintain their painkiller use at the level the prescribing doctor recommended, why shouldn’t they be allowed to? The simple answer is because it’s actually largely impossible for them to trade addiction for moderation.
Addiction problems normally begin with moderate and controlled drug use. The individual has encountered some sort of physical, mental or emotional problem that they feel either unwilling or unable to deal with, and drugs provide them with relief. However, few individuals take advantage of the relief provided by drug substances to address and resolve the underlying problems. They are essentially using these substances as a way to hide or escape from their problems. Since the relief they experience is only temporary, this means that the individual will have to continue taking drug substances in order to continue hiding or escaping from their problems.
After drug use has continued for some time, the individual enters into the condition of tolerance. At this point, they no longer experience the same desired effects through the same quantity and frequency of drug use. This drives them to increase their drug use in order to experience the relief they have come to rely on. Unfortunately, tolerance can steadily increase at each new level of drug intake, effectively driving the individual to consume more and more toxic and dangerous quantities of drug substances.
Since drugs interrupt the normal functions of the human body, their continued use over time can drive the body to cope with their presence by developing a new “normal” that includes drugs. This is drug dependence, the demarcation point that indicates an individual is no longer in control of their drug use habits. A drug dependent individual is compulsively driven to continue their drug use despite the many damaging effects it has had on their health, relationships and life. They are addicted to these chemical substances, and even if they desire to eradicate drug use from their life they are often entirely unable to do so.
Why Moderation Doesn’t Work
Considering a drug addict’s tolerance for and dependence upon drug substances, it is rather obvious that they will be unable to control their drug use at a moderate amount. This is true even if they have managed to recover from drug use for some period of time, partly because mind-altering substances essentially short-circuit the brain’s computer and cause it to send erroneous signals and partly because old habits are easily fallen back into. Despite a period of abstinence, an individual can find that any amount of drug substances can cause their brain to return to old routines, demanding more of these substances in order to function. The individual himself can find it amazingly easily to slip right back into risky and addictive behaviors so that what begins with moderation leads quite quickly back into full-blown drug abuse.
There have been some individuals who have successfully recovered from drug addiction through moderation, or who have been able to participate in moderate drug use after recovery without slipping back into drug abuse and addiction. However, the fact remains that the easiest and surest way to stop drug use from turning into drug abuse and addiction is to abstain from it altogether. There are many other ways an individual can experience joy and happiness in their life, and the sooner they realize that drugs are not essential, the sooner they can get on with living.