Chemical dependency is a term that has come to be used with reference to almost any type of substance abuse or addiction to alcohol/drugs etc.
The original sense of addiction in the context of a 12-step recovery was an addiction to alcohol, normally referred to as alcoholism.
As an understanding that alcoholism was an illness grew in medical and therapeutic circles, treatment centers and rehabs began to treat people who they referred to as being dual diagnosed, that is that they had an addiction to some type of drug as well as a problem with alcohol.
Since then rehab’s and treatment centers have broadened their concept of addiction treatment programs to essentially deal with anyone who had any type of addiction, to any type of substance or behaviour.
This approach certainly has its critics, many will argue that seeing the individual as an addictive personality, and their chemical dependency or behaviour is simply a drug of choice is highly oversimplistic.
At the same time, most people who have had any dealings with anyone who is an alcoholic or addict, either active or in recovery, will happily testify that they have significant personality and identity problems that have undoubtedly fuelled that alcoholism or addiction.
The linkage between chemical dependency and addiction and rehabs is one that is important to seek an context.
It is very easy for someone unfamiliar with the world of 12-step recovery who is confronted with someone who has a terrible addiction to simply follow the dictates of a particular rehab or treatment center.
Sometimes time is of the essence, and it is often essential to get someone into a rehab or some type of detox program so that the health can be stabilised, at least in the short term.
The process of recovery from any type of addiction or alcoholism, in the context of 12 step recovery, can be done either in a rehab or by going to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or another 12 step organisation.
This process of 12 step recovery is by necessity a long-term process, and one undertaken by someone who had at some level either acknowledged their chemical dependency and are willing to try and deal with it, or are willing to acknowledge the life is a complete disaster and are willing to try and change it, even if they don’t know why.