There was an interesting article in Guardian this week where Russell Brand discusses his life away from drugs. He has been clean for over 10 years, and is a great example of how people can find a good life after addiction. Russell admits that he does still sometimes think about heroin, his former drug of choice, but he loves his new life too much to ever consider going back to how things used to be.
Those people who have never been addicted to alcohol or drugs can have great trouble understanding why people fall into this trap. In the article in the Guardian, Russell Brand goes to great lengths to describe the attraction. He talks about how heroin completely removed all the pain from his life when he was high, and it felt like he was back in the comfort of the womb. The pleasant effects of the drug make it highly seductive, but he paid a heavy price for this pleasure. In the end, he realised that the positive effects of heroin were nothing when compared to the devastation this substance abuse was having on his life.
In the past there does seem to have been a reluctance on the part of people recovering from addiction to discuss the positive side of taking these substances. This is understandable because when individuals are trying to escape addiction, the last thing they want to do is to be romancing the drink or drug. The problem is that if people try to downplay the reasons behind their addiction, it may mean they are weak to defend themselves against relapse. There is no real benefit in pretending that drugs like heroin do not produce extremely pleasurable effects – this type of denial serves nobody. It also makes it harder for those who are not addicted to understand the problem.
Most addicts do not break away from addiction because they stop finding pleasure in alcohol or drugs. The real motivation behind quitting is that the physical, mental, and emotional cost of this behaviour becomes too much to deal with. The person can see if they continue with the substance abuse they could easily end up losing too much, so they decide to quit the behaviour. They come to the realisation that they would just be much better off if they no longer used this chemical.
The fact that the person knows there may be some pleasure left in addiction for them is what causes them to relapse. They forget about how the cost of using these substances is too high, and this means they lose their resolve. Before they know it, they can be right back where they started – only this time they might not be motivated to quit again. It is for this reason that it is so important that those who give up their addiction never forget their reasons for doing so.
Russell Brand knows that he could easily slip back into addiction if he were to become complacent. His career is going really well at the moment, he has a big house, a great social life, and drives a large car, but he could easily lose it all if he was to just show weakness one time when confronted by temptation. Russell Brand knows what is waiting for him if he was to return to addiction, and this is why he works so hard to prevent this from happening.