Well, the answer is simple, and complex. Genetic predisposition does play a role, however, an addict’s main problem is the negativity coming from within themselves. They are their own worst critic. On the inside, at an insidious level, they hate themselves and judge themselves worse than anyone else ever could. When people in their life say negative things about them, this internal self-hatred is validated.
Addicts use drugs because it’s a solution to that self-hatred. They don’t get high and enjoy life. They get high to shut off that turbo jet fan of self-loathing thoughts constantly spinning inside their head. That’s why their using. It’s a form of escape that works for them.
When someone enters detox, their solution to that constant noise inside of their head, is gone. It’s like there’s a buzzard on their shoulder, telling them all of the horrible things that they’ve done and constantly reminding them of the shame and the guilt they carry due to the life that they lived before entering detox.
This is why these individuals need treatment. They have no solution to that noise once they leave detox. The illness has not been treated yet. The only thing that has happened is that their bodies have been safely withdrawn from drugs and alcohol. If they do not go directly into treatment for long-term recovery, that ego is going to rebuild. What I mean by this is that their own head is going to start lying to them and telling them all kinds of nonsense. And it’s not going to show them that they are actually experiencing a craving. What it will look like from their perspective is that it’s everyone else’s fault that they are in the spot they’re in. They will get angry with anyone and before they know it they are back off the wagon again. Self-pity wins again. The diseased, untreated mind of an addict or alcoholic is a cunning, baffling, and powerful thing.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t have the willpower to remain sober right out of detox. It’s not about willpower. Addicts and alcoholics have more willpower than the average person… they survived what most would not. They need treatment. They deserve treatment. They deserve wellness. They need accountability and to learn how to live life, sober. This takes time, and a team of professionals who are trained in working in this field.