There is a bit of controversy over this issue, particularly in the case of alcohol addiction, where there are powerful social pressures to drink.  The best information seems to indicate that people do recover from the physical effects of addictions if they stop soon enough, but that some of the changes that take place in the brain during the addiction process will remain. If that is the case (and experience seems to prove it out), “recovered” alcoholics and other addicts, if they use their drugs, are risking a rapid return of the addiction as the neural pathways respond to the old, well-known stimuli.

We need also to consider the psychological aspects of someone’s wanting to use drugs when they have already seen what can happen.  One could argue that such people have to be especially careful, since they are not committed to sobriety to begin with.  (Of course, denial being what it is, they will be the first to argue the point.)

This matter is complicated to some small degree by the variables among individuals.  A few people seem to be able to drink or drug heavily, then stop or cut back with little difficulty.  They do exist, but they are rare.  The best advice is to stay away from drugs and alcohol completely if they have previously caused problems in your life.  The possible price of taking them up again is too high to take the chance.

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