Why Can’t They Just Quit?

If you are someone who has asked this question please don’t give up. I understand what you’re going through and what the other person is going through. It can be so very hard to understand. Why don’t they just stop? Can’t they see what they are doing to our family, me, and themselves! They’re killing themselves, just stop. This what most people don’t understand about an addiction. The power, grip and control  the addiction has over the person. In many cases the person does want to stop, it’s more they don’t know how, or where to go get help. The other big factor with getting help is the fear and stigma attached to it. The fact is there are many places to go and get help for whatever the addiction is, if it would be alcohol, drugs, this includes prescription, food, gambling or other thing.  One of the easier to understand explanations of an addiction that I have found:

People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or other drugs, even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences.

The illness becomes harder to treat and the related health problems, such as organ disease, become worse.

Addiction is a chronic, but treatable, brain disorder. People who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol or other drugs, even in the face of negative health, social or legal consequences. This lack of control is the result of alcohol- or drug-induced changes in the brain. Those changes, in turn, cause behavior changes.

The brains of addicted people “have been modified by the drug in such a way that absence of the drug makes a signal to their brain that is equivalent to the signal of when you are starving,” says National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Dr. Nora Volkow. It is “as if the individual was in a state of deprivation, where taking the drug is indispensable for survival. It’s as powerful as that.”

If you read this it becomes clear that it is not just a matter of “Why can’t they just quit?” The addicted brain has become altered, and the consequences are not stronger than the desire for the substance. The addicted person cannot control  their need. In many cases the person knows they have a problem but are so deep in the issue they can’t see way out, a tunnel vision of sort or perpetual slide. There you are frustrated at every turn with the actions and the behaviors of the addicted person, and what it’s doing to you. Creates untold stresses at home, may be some legal issues, possible loss of employment, the thought of dissolving the marriage, trust issues, financial or health concerns along with countless other things. You blame yourself for this, and ask “what did I do wrong?” or “only if I would have….” When someone is addicted it’s not about quitting, it’s about finding out what’s going on, and many times there is a co-occurring condition contributing to the addiction. Treating an addiction is so much more than treating the use of the substance, it’s about change, brain health, support, diet, learning new behaviors, education, core values, and it’s about feeling better. For you and others directly affected by the addiction same applies, as you will both or all be in recovery and in a rebuilding process of all the aspects of your lives that have been damaged. This often takes time. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is not treatment, it is a support network, and may not be right for you or loved one. This is where a private personalized plan comes in. It is often thought that the person has to “hit bottom” before they get help. This is not the case, in fact the earlier in an addiction help is sought the more they find to live for. It is not a sign of weakness, it is not a blame game, it’s about regaining your life. The thought of an intervention may have crossed your mind, like you may have seen or heard of on TV. That is only one form intervention. Interventions can come in many forms, it could be the DUI, the separation or divorce, loss of employment, health related, or could be convincing the addicted person seek help. You may have to consider if a medical detox is required, as detoxing can be life threatening in some cases. The underlying intent of this is don’t give up, it’s not anyone’s fault, don’t stop trying to seek help, it can be better and get better.

My primary focus is on Alcohol Recovery.  I combine brain health and recovery coaching into one package that works!  Most of my clients feel far different in about 2 weeks!  I hope to help you or your loved one on their recovery journey soon!

Steve Sell


Alcohol Recovery Coach Steve
Alcohol Recovery Coach Steve