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What’s the Difference Between Sobriety and Recovery?

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When someone is addicted to a drug or alcohol, they are called addicts or alcoholics. Still, the actual term for either disorder is a substance use disorder. Both of these conditions are diseases of the mind and emotions. Removing substances, drugs, alcohol, or both does not cure or improve the individual’s mental health. People who use substances to change how they feel or fix their feelings are suffering. It is a fact that people who get addicted to drugs or alcohol have personal histories of trauma, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, and other experiences that damage their emotional well-being. However, both disorders can be helped with professional counseling and in-depth, evidence-based therapy.

Just as the development of a substance use disorder involves profound changes in the brain, behavior, and social functioning, the process of recovery also involves changes in these and other areas. (NIH)

What's the Difference Between Sobriety and Recovery?

Understanding Sobriety and Recovery

When a person gets clean and sober, they are in sobriety. If they dedicate their new lives to remaining drug and alcohol-free and are willing to prioritize their life around doing so, they are in recovery. Still, real recovery goes even further, as does absolute sobriety. Someone who only gets sober to please the family or get out of probation is not likely to stay sober once the ‘heat’ is off. Similarly, someone dedicated to their recovery attends 12 step meetings and works a program of recovery every day is also likely to relapse if they do not have a spiritual awakening and let go of the old self. The ego (self) is resilient and will take control of a person’s recovery and make other things their drug or alcohol. Many people in solid recovery use careers, relationships, food, money, and just about anything to numb them the same way substances used to.

What is Real Recovery?

Many people describe authentic recovery and have firm answers about it. It is remaining clean and sober long term. It is also practicing the 12 steps and surrendering the self will over to a higher power or God, doesn’t matter which, just so long as they look to some authentic higher being to guide them. Another facet of real recovery is to accept that alcoholism and addiction require letting go of old ideas of who they want to be or believe they are. Surrender is the key to real recovery as the individual realizes that they are damaged and were long before they found the relief in drugs or alcohol. This actualization of who they are is how lifelong recovery that is satisfying happens.

Do Treatment Programs Prepare Someone For Recovery?

YES! The long-term recovery that is fulfilling begins in treatment, where the person is awakened to understand what they are actually up against. This entails behavioral therapy from the start of their treatment program. Behavioral therapy gives the person life-saving insight as to why they interpret the actions of others and themselves so poorly. All addicts and alcoholics are wounded and need help to realign their thoughts, not develop merciless obsessions on outside things. These include where they stand in work, finances, relationships, their reputations, over shopping or buying, and living out grandiose ideas about themselves. Behavioral therapy even minimizes the presence of fear that so many recovering people struggle to correct. The foundation of anyone’s recovery must include behavioral therapy and other evidence-based types of addiction and alcoholism treatment.

What Do The Experts Say About Recovery?

The National Institute of Health provides expert insight into addiction/alcoholism. They researched what actual recovery is.

In the most comprehensive study of how people define recovery, 98 percent of the participants met the formal medical criteria for a severe substance use disorder, and three-quarters of them labeled themselves as being “in recovery.” The study results shed light on how people vary in their understanding of recovery. 86.0 percent saw abstinence as part of their recovery. And personal growth, such as “Being honest with myself,” was endorsed, as was “handling negative feelings without using alcohol or drugs” and “being able to enjoy life without alcohol or drugs.” Almost all study participants viewed their recovery as a process of growth and development, and about two-thirds saw it as having a spiritual dimension. (NIH)

Evoke Wellness in Coconut Creek Provides Behavioral Therapy

We support our patients with in-depth behavioral therapy that begins immediately. The behavioral therapy types we offer include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

We can show you the actions to take to live clean and sober and be happy and at peace with your life. Addiction is hard, but not getting help to remain drug and alcohol-free and at ease while being so is worse. We have the answers to help you change and find purpose and freedom. Call now!