Lifelong...My apologies for the rambling, but here's the history:
It is really crazy to realize this, but my substance abuse started when I was 10 years old. It started with me raiding my mom's liquor cabinet for Bailey's. When I was 14 I tried "white crosses". I started drinking regularly with my bf at 15 and then progressed to weed and meth at 16. Before my 17th bday I had a full blown addiction. I can't even get into how horrible that time in my life was, but to give you an idea I am 5'7" and weighed only 98 lbs. at my worst. :S
Somehow I kept my grades up enough and my mom had so many issues of her own (bipolar disorder) that my use went undetected in my home. I somewhat got a grip on my use and had it under control by 19 (worked 6 days a week, never missed a day). Then I quit for 2 years and had a little "episode" with meth when I was 21 that cost me a very good job. I returned to college to finish my Bachelors degree and continued to use occasionally until I graduated with honors.
I continued to use occasionally with my bff without my husband's knowledge up until I was 27. Then I didn't use again until 29. The last time I used meth was when I was 31. I never even think about using anymore. I use other things occasionally and not excessively but nothing out of hand (at least not at this point). So yeah, I'm a lifer but it is not impossible to stop. I think some people outgrow it or competing priorities push drugs and alcohol to the side. I don't know, maybe I'm completely wrong, lol.