Substance Abuse Information

The information below will help you understand what category a person falls into if they experiment with alcohol or drugs. You will also find information regarding abstinence and recovery. This information will help a person who isn’t completely sure how they want to reach recovery for their drug or alcohol problem. Substance abusers, alcoholics, addicts and anyone who may be codependent will learn what steps to take to achieve a positive recovery.

There are many different aspects of substance abuse and not everyone fits into the same category. The information below will help answer questions you may have as well as give insight to those looking for information regarding; addiction, substance abusers, alcoholics, addicts, codependency and recovery.

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Categories of Alcohol and Drug Users

There are 3 categories an individual can fit in when it comes to alcohol or drug use. When describing these categories we are referring to illegal drug use but remember that taking for example prescription drugs that haven’t been prescribed for you is also illegal use of that drug. Alcohol on the other hand isn’t considered an illegal drug but it is a substance that is either used, abused and forms dependency.

WARNING: You may not get the answer you expect


A ‘user’ is someone that takes drugs or drinks alcohol. An example of a user would be an individual who uses drugs or alcohol occasionally for recreational use. Many people once in a while drink alcohol or take drugs when they are with friends. Being a ‘user’ of drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that it’s better or ok, it just describes the type or form of use by an individual.
Using any form of drug or substance for recreational purposes is wrong and if an individual is under age, drinking alcohol recreationally or for fun is equally as wrong and illegal.


An ‘abuser’ is someone who uses drugs or alcohol excessively. Individuals who use drugs or alcohol recreationally or not, when this is done in excess they fall into the category of abuser. There is a fine line between user and abuser because using any type of drug or substance for recreational purposes or for the sake of getting ‘high ‘ is abuse.


An addict is an individual who has formed a dependency or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Using these substances becomes habit-forming and there is a psychological or physical need or craving for drugs or alcohol. Many times alcohol and drug addicts have both physical and psychological symptoms because of the intense need for the substance. A short and simple way to describe an addict is the word ‘addiction‘; they have formed an addiction to the substance.

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Categories of Alcohol and Drug Non-Users

Individuals who stop using or abusing drugs and alcohol fall under 2 categories, Abstinence and Recovery. Both of these categories are equally important to the non-user. Many people though in order to be successful long-term non-users find they need more than abstinence in their lives to make this happen.

This is not to say one is better than the other, each person is different and they need to find what works for them personally. One of the crucial elements for being a ‘non-user’ is finding a program or a way that works best for you when it comes to sobriety or staying clean from drugs.

BEWARE: You may be surprised


Making a choice to be abstinent from drugs or alcohol is a hard but admirable decision to make. For anyone who has formed a dependency to either of the 2 substances this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many people who have a substance abuse problem choose to abstain from using drugs or drinking alcohol. Some fight the addiction emotionally every day while staying abstinent.

Some do this primarily on their own while others find the need for a support group to help them abstain from use. Either way, credit is to be given to anyone making the responsible choice to stop using drugs or alcohol. Many people have had long-term success without the need of outside treatment help.


counselor_sideMost people have underlying reasons why they abuse drugs and alcohol. They’re not excuses for their dependency and addiction but underlying reasons definitely play a role in addictive behavior. Recovery Treatment Programs are not only designed to help the individual stay abstinent from using drugs or alcohol but it goes much deeper.

An alcoholic or drug user chooses to be abstinent from using these substances but can’t really reach ‘Recovery’ without understanding some of the following;

  • Why have I chosen to abuse drugs or alcohol?
  • Do I have underlying emotional issues I need help with?
  • How can I make better choices?
  • How do I handle stress now that my ‘crutch’ is gone?
  • How do I heal relationships that have been broken or harmed?
  • Where do I go from here?

Being abstinent alone isn’t enough for most people for long-term success; those who find treatment for their dependency and addiction are not only abstinent but find physical recovery, mental recovery, and emotional recovery as well. Treating each person individually with a program that is specifically designed to meet their needs and issues is what recovery treatment is about.

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Action Plan for Recovery

If you have a problem with alcoholism, substance abuse, codependency, or addiction, planning for a successful recovery will make achieving your goal of Recovery much easier. Utilizing tools that are available will make abstinence and recovery a positive growth and change.

BE CAREFUL: You may get hooked

Action Plan

Once you realize that you do have a problem with alcohol or drugs, look into Detoxification and Rehabilitation Treatment Centers and find the one that best fits your needs if this type of treatment is necessary.

12 Step Programs are essential for maintaining abstinence and receiving support from those that are going through some of the same issues due to dependency.

Finding useful books, articles, and recovery tools are helpful for maintaining abstinence. Finding these resources and working them into your life on a daily basis will help you stay focused on recovery at all times.

Never stop looking for positive resources and encourage yourself daily, helping someone else in need of support is also a way of spiritual growth as well as personal growth.


Nothing good in life comes easy and abstinence, sobriety, and recovery are wonderful and healthy personal choices we can make for ourselves. These choices don’t come easy they take effort and willpower but they sure are worth it in the end. Recovery is reachable when you have the desire, make the effort, and work hard to maintain it. After all, you’re worth it!