Are there people who have “managed” Heroin and lived on it long-term?
Drug users can often point to one or two people they know who seem to be able to manage their habits, and use this as justification for their own.
For some drugs and some people, their accounts might be accurate: Many a smoker in Colorado is able to function day-to-day, and most people know of several people who are able to enjoy a drink on occasion without succumbing to addiction.
Heroin is not one of those drugs. It does not matter how strong a person the user is, or how much they know. Everyone pays a price in the end.
Heroin and the Fact of Addiction
Heroin users frequently know at least one person who uses it “on occasion.” This person’s apparent ability to manage their habit gives users confidence in their own ability to resist addiction.
The problem is that people who use on occasion — a habit known as “chipping” — always end up struggling with addiction.
Studies have shown that people who allow Heroin to maintain a presence in their life, at one point or another, struggle with addiction.
Ultimately, this is due to two things: Heroin’s inherently addictive nature, and the fact that human willpower is finite.
In almost all cases, people who started out chipping and end up suffering from full-blown addiction make the transition during a particularly trying period of their lives. The tragic part is that this decisive period is rarely long — it sometimes lasts only for two weeks — but opiates and Heroin in particular, are such that a single binge involving sufficient excess is enough to establish addiction.
The main difficulty in overcoming addiction is a failure to recognize it as such. A constant craving that a user caves in to — that is addiction. Most addicts, in the early stages, are able to continue to live more or less as they always have for a time.
Those who seek help in these early stages tend to be able to swiftly and permanently overcome addiction. Often, however, addicts do not acknowledge that they have a problem until after they have suffered from severe social consequences — most do not voluntarily check into rehab until after their work, friendships, and family relations have suffered.
It is during this phase that heroin addiction tends to be the most dangerous, as this is when addicts have a consistent supply, a steady habit, and a tendency to feel hopelessly buried by the bad hand they’ve been dealt.
As anyone who’s made it through addiction will attest, overcoming the mentality that all is doomed is the first step to overcoming addiction.
Most addicts realize that recovery is possible. What keeps them from seeking help is the belief that there is no hope in recovering: They feel as if they will never be able to get a job, mend broken relationships, or reintegrate into society.
Many addicts eventually realize that this is not the case: Rehab programs have a good track record of helping former addicts find work and reestablish themselves in society.
Others simply need a push. A caring friend or family member can often help someone suffering from addiction realize that their problem does not have to be a problem, that recovery is an option, and that they are still loved. Sometimes, this push is enough to save a life.
Those who use Heroin on occasion but have yet to develop full-blown addiction would be wise to seek the counsel of a friend, family member, or addiction center: This can help them contextualize and overcome their habit before it becomes a problem.
Those who already find themselves struggling simply need to realize that it is never too late to ask for help.