Sobriety and Recovery, where is the line?

Thinking about working through what you might see as an addiction? Does reading about the process get confusing? You’ve probably read the words sobriety and recovery a million times trying to find what will be best for you. You might think that sobriety and recovery would have some overlap or that you can consider moments of sobriety during recovery as sobriety. Here are some of the differences and how they can work together for your better future. 


When you are sober, it means that you have eliminated the use of addictive substances in your life. Even though you are living without the substances, you might still have some of the unhealthy or negative aspects of your life from when you were not sober. These could be things like health issues, moral issues, or damaged relationships with people you love. In AA, these people are often referred to as dry drunk. Simply, this means you have quit the substance but not made amends elsewhere. People considered dry drunk often run the risk of relapsing because they haven’t made a commitment to any of the outside factors of their sobriety and just separation from the substance itself.  


In recovery, you are making a constant effort to take these issues head on. You are trying to mend relationships as well as build healthier and happier habits. You are trying to give yourself an opportunity to heal. You often find out in recovery that the substance may not have been the biggest problem, but it is the tipping point to changing your behaviors. Often the factors that lead to the continuation of the use of the substance were the biggest problem.  When you have made the effort to separate yourself from these behaviors and habits, you often stand a better chance at lifelong sobriety.  This is because you have made yourself an opportunity to build those habits and make changes for the better. 


Transitioning from sobriety to recovery can be a big leap. Doing so takes a commitment to taking action to building better habits and staying sober. The process of recovery is for many a lifelong process of healing that is not able to be done completely alone. Committing to yourself and your wellbeing is a big step. Knowing that it is what is best for you is one of the most important parts. Committing to a 12 step program or other recovery organization is a really logical step for many people. They help keep you accountable for the steps you are making and they give you ways to relate with others and keep busy. The social aspect as well as the commitment to a plan is important. 


In short - you cannot have recovery without sobriety, but you can have moments of sobriety without recovering. Commitment to making better habits and giving yourself an opportunity to heal while committing to separating yourself from the substance and the habits surrounding it is the road to lifelong sobriety. Sobriety and recovery can really work hand in hand!