Sobriety and Recovery – what is the difference?

by Rod Smith

A lifelong friend wrote this. I asked for his permission to publish it. He requested anonymity:

There’s a difference between being ‘sober’ and being ‘in recovery’. It’s important to understand that you cannot be cured from addictions. Being sober from addictions means:  Not using, abstaining from mind, mood altering substances like alcohol, drugs, prescription meds. Abstention must be complete. The daily work and struggles revolve around doing all you can to stay in sobriety. It’s a necessary process and the tricks you learn and plans you develop are key in moving into recovery. Being in recovery is different altogether. It begins with sobriety, but recovery is about:

  • Changing behaviour
  • Finding peace and healing
  • Striving to become a better human being, loving yourself
  • Admitting responsibility and giving up the victim role
  • Action and deeds, not talking
  • It isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a lifelong journey
  • A shot at making life changes at work, home, in relationships

Being in recovery offers you a lifelong, wonderful experience giving life your best shot every day.  Life isn’t about not using; it’s about the human experience of living life, with all the ups and downs. Staying sober is a crucial factor for recovery. Recovery is an individual experience of getting better at life.

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