Do people relapse on opiates because they are weak? Is the fact they can’t stop using because they lack willpower?
Let’s just look at what it takes to go into recovery.
When someone goes into recovery, they face withdrawal first. I can’t speak to this in first person because I’ve never been through it. But Charles had and it looked brutal. Those that finally go into recovery often have no money, no place to live, no car, and few possessions. They might have lost their job and spent time in jail.
The behavior related to their illness has sometimes estranged them from family, children and spouses. Since their old friends are people with whom they used, they have to separate themselves from these friends. And find new ones.
Withdrawal can have symptoms for a year or more. Brain rebound takes at least 18 months. Sufferers are constantly aware that a relapse can mean death. Then there is the shame and stigma associated with addiction and difficulty managing life due to their disease and have to learn those skills. There is often a co-occurring mental illness such as anxiety, bipolar or depression.
Add to that those in recovery can never have another substance or it could trigger the whole ugly cycle again in addition to a potentially life threatening relapse.
Given all that has to happen for someone to find and maintain recovery, “weak” is hardly a word I’d use to describe anyone going through it.