The inexorable truth the phenomenon of tolerance teaches all addicts is that the longer they use (regardless of the substance), the less of the desired effect they will experience from the same quantity. As human biochemistry adapts to the substance and becomes used to it, it takes more of that substance to produce the same mind- and mood-altering effects. One of active addiction’s cruel realities is that gradually and progressively, the drugs work less and less well. The only options are to continually increase the amount used or to switch to a more efficient route of administration that delivers the payload more rapidly—such as smoking or shooting—to the brain’s reward center; however, even these are but temporary fixes. If we use long enough, the dope basically stops working and only serves the purpose of keeping the agony of acute withdrawal at bay. The drug-induced dynamics of diminishing returns have two levels: micro, which is declining effects with each successive dose over the course of a day, and macro, which includes decreasing desired effects that occur over the total length of time one has been using, whether weeks, months, or years. As the years progress, addicts in active addiction continue to chase the sublime intensity of the high, the buzz, the rush they experienced early in their using careers. Addicts retain vivid Technicolor memories of that revelation of chemically induced ecstasy, romanticizing the hell out of it. It is that perfect moment, resplendent as the recollections of one’s first true love. It is the addict’s solemn, dedicated mission to recapture that pure, unspoiled essence.This blog post is an excerpt from Some Assembly Required – A Balanced Approach to Recovery from Addiction and Chronic Pain by By Dan Mager, MSW; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP).