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Enhancing the Brain's Flexibility Could Unseat Addiction

Restoring the brain's flexibility may help addicts act on their desire to quit

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Reid had been drinking hard since 1994, when sickness, his father's death and business troubles had him reaching for more alcohol than usual. Eventually he was knocking back 10 or more drinks a day. In 2009 his family leveled an ultimatum. He had to give up alcohol or get out.

“That choice sounds real simple, but it's very, very hard,” says the 58-year-old college-educated businessman, whose last name has been withheld. “I've got a wife to die for and two of the greatest kids in the world, and I'm sitting there looking in the mirror, asking myself, ‘You're going to give all this up for that drink?’” he remembers. Still, he drank, secretly downing miniature bottles of vodka while walking the dog, hiding out in the bathroom or going through the car wash.

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