The mental part, particularly for heroin
, is the hardest part to overcome.
That's the biggest misconception about addiction
, most people think that once people get over the physical agony of withdrawal
, it'll be easy to just "go back to the way things were" and "snap out of it" in fact, the temptation to use is much greater once a person has broken free of the acute withdrawal phase and is no longer dependent on the chemical.
Because then the mind starts playing tricks on the person, it says "well now you aren't dependent on it, so you can use it recreationally and not be a junkie, just like before you became dependent!"
Which is, for lack of a better phrasing, just not the way it works. After going through the physical withdrawal the person is left with a feeling of increased confidence, euphoria
(particularly a cavalier attitude towards his own drug
use) alternating with feelings of emptiness... in other words there is still a lot of psychological re-balancing that has to occur..
It's wrong to think that a person will never want to get high again, especially on heroin, since it is just a fantastic drug. People don't want to be junkies, addicts, or experience the turmoil and depression of addiction, but that doesn't mean they dont want to get high, they just don't want the drug to control their life, which is an inevitable consequence of use.
It usually takes several detoxes for a person to really understand how it works, and that once a person becomes addicted/dependent they are hardwired to relapse under subsequent exposure to the drug.
This is why you mention that after he withdrew, tried heroin again, he became a "monster" and had to get some more... because when he took that first hit after being free of the dependency (and I use the term "free" loosely in this sense, as you will realize in a way he will never be truly "free" of it again) his neurological systems underwent a rapid restructuring that put heroin use above all else, he wasn't yet physically dependent again, but the "psychological" aspect of addiction kicked in and put him in a position that will essentially cause him to use compulsively until he is fully dependent again.
This is why addicts are referred to as "in recovery" perpetually, because the potential for relapse is always very high, and even isolated exposure to the drug typically results in a full blown binge relapse.