One of the primary issues that individuals and families struggle with today is drug and alcohol abuse. Despite increased media attention on the dangers of drug and alcohol use, many adults and adolescents continue to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with issues which feel too difficult to face. In addition to drug use, alcohol is still a seemingly “socially acceptable” drug of choice for many. Those who abuse alcohol and drugs are often the last to admit, even to themselves, that their use is becoming a problem. The majority of people with alcohol and drug problems continue to believe that they are “just recreational users,” or “social drinkers,” until they reach a crisis point, such as a DUI, an issue with their employer or a conflict with a loved one. A common misconception is that alcoholics or addicts are “only those people who drink every day,” or “only those who drink to the point of getting drunk.”

In fact, many people with substance abuse problems continue to hold down responsible jobs, go to work every day, and consider themselves “social drinkers.” The fact is that any time your alcohol or drug use begins to become a topic of conversation with loved ones, or to affect your life or relationships, that is a sign of a problem. One of the most notable “symptoms” of a substance abuse problem is not how much or how little a person drinks or uses drugs, but how much stress their drinking or drug use causes in their relationships.

If you find yourself having conversations in which you are trying to explain to your loved one(s) that you do not have a problem, and that they should stop “nagging you,” or “worrying without reason,” chances are this is a sign of a problem. If you find yourself having these conversations with your loved ones, consider contacting Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon or another support group for information.

The following CPC counselors are trained to work with issues of substance abuse, and can help you or your loved one address substance abuse issues:

Kevin Ogle, DMin, AAPC Fellow
Nancy Scott, LCSW