Substance Abuse Stressors at Home
Its midnight and he is not home. He told you he was stopping off for a beer after work and would be home in a few hours but that was hours ago and now the dinner is over, the dishes are washed, the kids are in bed, and you lay there, alone, worried sick, and torn between your constant anger and your endless despair.
It didn’t start this way, you were happy once. You thought his drinking was just a stage he would grow out of. Eventually, over time, he would stop drinking and you would graciously grow old together. You convinced yourself that when the kids, jobs, responsibilities, and obligations of life unfolded in front of him, he would stop drinking, or at least drink less. You believed, like your life depended on it, that he would change. And he did change: he got worse.
You fought against this for years. You tried to be a better lover, a better mother, a better wife, a better homemaker, a better woman. You have argued, fought, prayed, consulted, and waited for him to stop drinking. You have withheld your emotions, your sex, your love, and your hope but nothing changed him…it was all futile. Over time the fight was too much and you fell into a pit of despair leaving you trapped in your misery, immersed in your anger, and hating yourself for living this way more than you hated him for drinking.
You are not alone with these issues, and you can get your life back. Click on our Tips tab to learn more about differentiating between Chemical Dependence and Alcoholism. Then, find agents of help on our Resources tab.
Tips on Differentiating between Chemical Dependence and Alcoholism
Many people are confused about how to define alcoholism. They erroneously think that a person cannot be alcoholic if they are not chemically dependent. However, there is a vast difference between being chemically dependent to alcohol and suffering from alcoholism. In short, it can be safely said that all alcohol dependent people are alcoholics, but not all alcoholics are chemically dependent.
Chemical dependency is the state of craving, desiring, or “having to have” alcohol. Dependency is the result of a variety of factors and although some people appear born with a chemical dependency, most gradually become chemically dependent over the course of their lives. The physical desire for alcohol is as real and powerful for the alcoholic as the dependency to Nicotine, heroine, or opiates is to others. The addicted person wants, craves, and needs alcohol to feel “normal.”
Alcoholism, on the other hand, has nothing to do with chemical dependency, and is best defined as a series of actions that create recurring, unwanted, unplanned, and unintended alcohol related conflicts. In other words, alcoholism is best defined as a pattern of behavior that creates alcohol related problems.
Or, to paraphrase our friend Mr. Forrest Gump, Alcoholism is….as Alcoholism does.
Most people think that if they are not chemically dependent they are not alcoholics. However, when alcohol creates a recurring pattern of emotion, personal, financial, legal, professional, marital, physical or psychological damage, the person is probably an alcoholic. Here is another rule of thumb… Alcoholics are people who are not in trouble every time they drink but every time they get in trouble it’s after they have been drinking.
Because people suffering from addictions often have multiple addictions, or switch addictions, we have listed a variety of helpful resources here:
- Narcotics Annonymous
- Overeaters Annonymous
- Debtors Annonymous
- Recovering Couples Annonymous
- Co Dependents Annonymous
Substance Abuse Recovery Help
Although you feel like there is not one shred of hope left in your soul, there is help. Rick Anderson is a Licensed Masters level Clinical Social Worker and founder and director of the Anderson Treatment Center. He has been in private practice for 16 years, treating individuals, couples, and families in recovery with warmth, a sense of humor, and an authentic approach. His practice is focused on service and personal attention to his clients.
Rick’s personal background includes the violent murder of his mother, the incarceration and suicide of his father, and life in foster homes. He knows “the territory” of pain and recovery and looks forward to talking with those who are hurting and hopeless. He notes, “There is hope and more importantly, there is peace.”
To schedule an appointment with Rick, please contact him directly at
His office is located at
3501 Lake Eastbrook, Suite 120
Grand Rapids, MI 49546.
Rick Anderson, LMSW
Licensed Masters level Clinical Social Worker and founder and director of the Anderson Treatment Center