Readers of my recent book, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, sometimes complain that I went into great detail about my addiction but very little detail about how I quit. In the book I recount how, one day, I had a very emotional, very intense talk with myself, and that was the day it all ended. I did not go through any standard form of treatment. In fact my treatment was self-directed: I wrote the word “NO” on a piece of paper, decorated it, put it up on the wall, and followed my own instructions.

Could it really have been that simple? That easy?

It wasn’t easy at all. Here’s a little more detail about that period of my life:

First, I had tried to quit taking opiates and other substances many many times by this point. I estimate approximately a hundred, before I was finally successful. This period of sporadic attempts lasted for several years, during which my life became more and more unbearable. All that is detailed in the book.

Watch a video of Dr. Sadaqat Ali on how to quit smoking.
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about quit smoking for Good


marc-david-lewisMarc David Lewis, PhD (born 1951) is a developmental neuroscientist known for dynamic systems approaches to understanding the development of emotions and personality. He is currently a professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands.Marc Lewis received his Ph.D. in applied psychology at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto in 1989.

Editor:  Nadeem Pasha

So it’s not like I woke up one morning and said “I’m going to quit today” and it worked, just like that. In fact, it’s typical for addicts to try to quit repeatedly before they are successful. Some people say you have to hit bottom before you can start going back up. I skidded along the bottom for years. Nevertheless, a large proportion of addicts do quit “spontaneously” (without treatment), whether we’re talking about drugs, booze, or smoking. The statistics are around the 50 percent mark — actually higher for smoking. Being an addict for life simply doesn’t work very well.

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Back to my story: I had recently endured two particularly shitty events. My girlfriend of two years left me, and this broke my heart. She said she couldn’t take it any more, and I didn’t blame her. Then my friends found me, semi-comatose, on a toilet seat in a public building with a needle sticking out of my arm. This was intensely shame-inducing, needless to say, and I could see that my friends would not continue to be my friends for long.

Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about drug addiction and it’s adverse effects
Dr. Sadaqat Ali talks about drug addiction & its adverse effects

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