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The mere fact that relapse is more common than uncommon sheds light on how difficult it truly is to break addiction. No one enters rehabilitation with the intention to fail; rather, they enter a treatment program hoping in their heart they can stop using for good.

The problem with this approach is addiction doesn’t happen in the heart. It happens in the brain.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic, underlying, largely genetic brain disease, making it a medical issue rather than a behavioral issue or moral failing and can be a root cause behind other behavioral, social and psychological problems like depression, cognitive distortions, social isolation and anxiety.

Addiction is created when a person seeks the help of drugs and alcohol to stimulate the senses once ignited by life itself. Drugs are powerful because they are immediate and they are dangerous because they, quite literally, hijack the reward centers of the brain, causing it to no longer seek other methods of feeling good. The brain learns the easiest and fastest way to feeling good is the drugs and, as a result, creates neural pathways specific to the use of the drug.

In other words, the brain stops using the neural pathways once used for such things as communication, interaction, creative-thinking, self-love and self-improvement and creates a straight line of communication with drugs and alcohol and any methods of communication necessary to attain them…