Clients tell me that their loved one does not understand why stopping opiate use is so hard. Most non-users think that it is simply a matter of "willpower". While determination is very important in overcoming active addiction, "willpower" alone is usually not enough to overcome one's physical opioid dependence once it has taken hold.
There is a page here on Methadone.US that is dedicated to explaining opioid addiction and the overwhelming compulsion that addicted people feel to keep using these drugs. If you are suffering with an opioid addiction, I recommend that you have your family or friends read this page. It helps to explain (using easily relatable examples) how and why addicted people have such a hard time avoiding opioid use when their withdrawal symptoms and cravings begin to build.
Opioid addicted people are no more able to "just not use" than most people are able to "just not eat". The need to satisfy hunger and the need to avoid opioid withdrawal are similar physiological drives. Both are powerful needs that a person cannot ignore.
Opioid addiction causes profound biochemical changes in the brain. The potential for becoming addicted is always present. Thus, this risk of addiction is something that all physicians should discuss with their patients when they prescribe them opiates for whatever reason.