Why Addiction Can Be Difficult to Overcome (and why you will still succeed)

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on July 13th, 2021 - Last updated: October 2nd, 2023
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.

It can be difficult for some people to hear about how so many people drink or take drugs without problems, or becoming addicted. Or, on the other hand, to learn how many overcome addiction in the course of time, with little or no help.

Thinking about your own substance use and addiction problems, you may wonder “What’s the matter with me?” 

Indeed, some people struggle with drugs, alcohol et al., even though most people do not. But we at LPP don’t see this as an added burden for you.

Here are five reasons we feel that way:

1. You should be confident that you will win out over your addiction in the end.

There is no time table for recovery. It can take time for people to put the pieces together (finding confidence and self-worth, meaningful activities, intimacy and family, connections to the community, reduced anxiety or depression, etc.). And no one at LPP is holding a stopwatch. 

But knowing that ultimate freedom is achievable — that taking reasonable steps in life will move you in that direction — is tremendously reassuring. 

You are headed in the right direction. We know that you are and that you can continue to do so.

2. Struggling for a time is no reason for despair or disappointment.

In ordinary 12-step thinking, you are either completely on target (always totally abstinent) or you are nowhere (“not sober”). There is no place in 12-steps for drinking moderately. In LPP, on the other hand, we are proud of every bit of progress that you make: with your family, at work or school, in organizing your life, in trying something new, in any and all of your improvements.

You should be proud of your efforts and of the successes you experience.

3. You are a valuable, good person. 

In focusing on changing, in devoting effort to doing better, you are being all that you can be. This is the best you, the one you and others respect. You should be proud of yourself. Those who love you feel that way. You are doing the right thing, for yourself and others.

4. We’ve been here before; we know the route.

Your efforts may sometimes leave you discouraged. But we have covered this road before, with all different sorts of people, at all different places. We see the goal, the outcome ahead. It is as real for us with you as it has been with others. You can see and feel with us both the goal posts and the markers along the way and stretching ahead of us.

5. Indeed, we respect you for the difficulties you are encountering.

Nothing impresses us like perseverance in the face of setbacks or static while pursuing who you want to be. We admire those whose journey seems sudden and predestined for success. (Although, believe us, nobody has it so easy.) But our favorite clients, the ones that make us feel the best about ourselves and our work, are the ones who encounter real difficulties. We are on your team, we admire you, we are pulling with you. And your successes are our proudest achievements.

To summarize, we know that you will make progress, so long as you believe that you can succeed and are willing to try. You are the only marker that concerns us. There is no better client than you are. Please believe that this is true, because we do.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.


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