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The Lie of Manageable Addiction

Among the many lies addicts tell themselves is that their addiction is manageable. Sure, they may have an addiction, but it’s under control and they can continue to function more or less normally for as long as they keep it controlled. There is a kernel of truth in it. After all, addicts are often very good at hiding their addictions for a while. Someone who seems functional, and even successful may be privately battling addiction. There are even outliers like Churchill, who led Britain through World War II while regularly drinking enough to put a normal person in the hospital.

Despite these examples, addiction is not a stable condition. The successful person who hides her addiction today will show cracks before long. There will always be a point when she decides to escalate. Your body always adapts to whatever drug you are using. When your body adapts, you no longer get the feeling you wanted when you first started using. That means the pain will come back or you will resume thinking about whatever it was you wanted to forget. Maybe you do just a little more, just this once. If you try to back off, you discover that addiction only goes one way. It’s easy to do more and hard to do less. The addiction grows in this way until it is no longer “manageable.”

Even if you are able to maintain a stable dose for a while, the addiction will still affect your life. The drug slowly becomes the most important thing. You schedule your time around when you can use. You worry about any deviation that might make you miss a dose. Your happiness becomes dependent on using. After every dose you are briefly satisfied and they you soon start looking forward to the next one. You don’t want to try new things. You might feel a bit flat. This is the best case scenario when trying to manage an addiction and escalation at some point remains likely.

Having a “manageable addiction” is no way to live. If your use has remained stable for a while, be thankful it hasn’t gotten worse, but don’t expect the situation to continue. If your life seems to be going ok despite your addiction, now is the time to get treatment. It will only be harder if you wait until the cracks start to show, until you feel like you’re losing control of your drug use, or until your family or boss start to notice your addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s manageable. It will only get worse and harder to treat. Living with a “manageable addiction” is only waiting for the other shoe to drop. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will start to focus on improvement, rather that preventing decline. Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at