From Chapter Two of the book
How to Quit Drugs for Good

How to Quit Drugs for Good

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A Way of Coping

Drugs help us cope. Our drug use makes us feel better or helps us avoid some problem. Basically, we use drugs to gain some desired effect. In fact, there are hundreds of ways drugs seem to help, and each person has his or her own unique set of reasons for using them. Here are a few specific ways that drugs help. They can help you:

  • Take risks
  • Calm yourself down
  • Energize yourself
  • Overcome shyness
  • Avoid feelings of loneliness
  • Forget some sadness
  • Feel bolder
  • Get into a partying mood
  • Celebrate happy occasions
  • Fit into social situations
  • Feel sexy
  • Stimulate your desire for sex
  • Overcome depression
  • Solve problems
  • Forget about problems
  • Stop worrying
  • Get to sleep
  • Wake up from sleep
  • Suppress your anger
  • Get your anger out
  • Cope with stress
  • Reduce feelings of guilt or shame
  • Ease tensions
  • Get rid of aches and pains

The ways are countless—for each of us. So much so that often it seems that drugs can cure all our ills and help us overcome whatever bothers us. If that’s all there were to it, we might consider each drug to be some kind of “wonder drug.” So what’s the drawback?

With so many good effects from using drugs, why would anyone want to quit? There are two main reasons: First, if you use excessively, drugs soon stop helping you and actually begin to hurt you. They begin to cause more problems for you than they help you solve. Second, most of us, sooner or later, realize that we would rather do something on our own instead of depending on a drug to help us do it.

Early in our drug-using careers, we’re amazed at how easily we can fit drugs into our lives. But it gets harder and harder. Instead of using a drug to help us now and then, we begin depending on it to help us constantly. We feel we can’t get along without it. We stop wanting the drug and start needing it.

This is a crucial change. It indicates addiction.

Here’s another way to see this change. We start using the drugs to cope with problems that only the drugs are causing. We need a drug to calm us from the effects of getting high the day before, to stop the jitters, or to cut the pain of withdrawal. Sometimes we use one drug to reverse the problems caused by another drug.

Even at this stage, we still have reasons for using. But now the problems from yesterday’s drug use become today’s reasons for using. That’s how powerful a drug of abuse can be. It medicates us from so many problems—even from the problems that it itself causes. No wonder we feel we need it!

It’s true that drugs help us cope in many ways. Later in this book, you’ll list specific ways that drugs help you. But more importantly, you’ll also discover many different ways of coping—ways that, in the long run, will work better for you than drugs ever did.