Defining What It Means to Be Sober

It is important to note that the distinction between abstinence and sobriety does not imply that one approach is superior to the other. Each individual’s path to recovery is unique, and what matters most is finding a method that resonates with their personal needs and values. What works for one person may not work for another, and that is perfectly acceptable. While a strict and uncompromising commitment to abstinence is vital for long-term success, it is not appropriate for everyone. Some people need more time to decide and may need to ask for help to reach a decision. In these cases, a balance between sobriety and abstinence can make the difference between success and failure.

noun. the state or quality of being sober rather than intoxicated. temperance or moderation, especially in the use of alcoholic beverages.

If you find it difficult to make new, sober friends, try joining a support group. Spending more time with supportive loved ones and planning activities for the entire family can also help you develop a healthier lifestyle and avoid situations in which you would normally drink or use drugs. In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, Women for Sobriety is a mutual-help organization designed to meet the specific needs of women.

Find Balance in Your Life

Stress enhances craving during sobriety and increases risk of relapse (Breese et al., 2005; Breese, Sinha, & Heilig, 2011; Seo & Sinha, 2014; Sinha, 2012; Sinha & O’Malley, 1999). Based on these clinical observations, modeling stress effects on drinking in animals would not seem difficult, yet myriad papers over many years demonstrated mixed results (reviewed in Becker, Lopez, & Doremus-Fitzwater, 2011). Knapp et al. (2011), Breese et al. (2004) and Overstreet, Knapp, and Breese (2007) examined the role of stress on drinking in the alcohol-preferring (P) rat model.

  • Everyone’s path along recovery is different, and what works for some may not work for others.
  • He completed a local Sobriety Court after his second DUIL offense despite one probation violation of non-attendance at a therapy session.
  • The moderation approach to addiction recovery believes that people can recover from addiction by slowly reducing the amount of alcohol or drugs they consume.

I don’t think I have a problem, but I might be someone that could get it [problems] more than anyone else […] (IP30). We must defeat this black-and-white, all-or-nothing disease addiction thinking in order to move forward on drug use, drug treatment and drug policy. But, most important of all, the idea that moderation is impossible prevents people facing addictions from considering their possibilities in optimal ways. Sobriety as Americans commonly use it imbeds the entire Temperance elimination of moderation as a possibility. “Temperance” itself means moderation, and yet it came to stand for prohibition.

Lifestyle Transformation

It is crucial for individuals to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some individuals may find success and fulfillment through abstinence, while others may thrive in a sobriety-focused lifestyle. As a Chicago substance abuse and addictions counselor, I have witnessed the transformative power of individuals seeking help to overcome their substance abuse. In my line of work, it is crucial to understand the subtle yet significant differences between abstinence and sobriety. At Monument, you can meet with a physician, such as myself, to discuss if medication to stop drinking is appropriate for you. There’s also specialized alcohol therapy where you receive a personalized treatment plan catered to you and your goals.

  • That can be because of substance abuse issues or you just want to live healthier.
  • Studies have shown that in some cultures there are a small percentage of people who can return to moderate drinking.
  • When you can develop healthy relationships with, and get support from, your friends, family, and lovers, you will be able to keep yourself from engaging in self-destructive behavior.
  • If you slip into heavy or binge drinking, potential health benefits can quickly become outnumbered by averse affects.

Valiant Living Detox and Assessment is a launching pad for addiction treatment located 35 minutes from Denver International Airport, providing a comprehensive set of services to men and women age 18 and up. Our facility is accredited by the Joint Commission and includes services including a medically monitored detox, assessment, and short-term residential treatment. The model fills days with healthy activities that let our staff best understand the individual in creating a more personalized path of recovery that includes secondary interventions and referral services. Our spacious living accommodations were developed around dignity, comfort, and safety with gender separate bedroom wings.

Find Relapse Prevention and Stay Sober With Haven Detox

When you can develop healthy relationships with, and get support from, your friends, family, and lovers, you will be able to keep yourself from engaging in self-destructive behavior. Sobriety is a state of not having any measurable effect on a human being from alcohol or drugs. This state is considered the natural state of human beings at birth. To fight the effects of addiction, people should try to practice sobriety as early as possible. Sobriety and abstinence are the two main objectives for maintaining recovery.

sobriety vs abstinence

P rats exposed to stress during abstinences interspersed with 5-day cycles of voluntary alcohol consumption exhibited elevated intake following return of alcohol after subsequent forced abstinences. Moreover the cycling paradigm alone also elevated intake that added to the stress effect. Keep in mind that alcohol alternatives shouldn’t be used as part of addiction recovery. (You shouldn’t be drinking anything that resembles alcohol if you’re an alcoholic, even if it’s alcohol-free.) They can be a positive addition to a sober curious lifestyle, though.

The more strategies you learn to identify triggers, cope with stress, and manage your new sober life, the easier it is to prevent relapse. If you’re sober curious or just looking to cut back on your drinking, you have options. The non-alcoholic beverage industry has been trending hot over the last couple years with alcohol-free alternatives to beer, wines, and spirits  that taste just like the real thing. After that first month, you start seeing more positive health benefits of sobriety. Your cravings are manageable, especially if you’ve figured out ways to replace alcohol with solid alternatives.

sobriety vs abstinence

For individuals with severe alcohol use disorder and possible physical alcohol dependence, quitting cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms that may be dangerous or even life-threatening. It’s vital to discuss your goals with a physician to determine how to stop drinking alcohol safely. Treatment professionals can advise if supervised detox is required, and provide next steps tailored to your needs. When they are offered 12-step treatment, they get exposed to these strict views in a different setting than what was initially intended within AA, namely a self-help group that people join voluntarily.

AA is a self-help movement that does not claim to stand on solid scientific ground. Initially, AA was not intended to offer a professional programme model for treatment (Alcoholics Anonymous, 2011). When the premise of AA was transformed into the 12-step treatment programme, it was performed How to Choose a Sober House: Tips to Focus on in a professional setting. Many clients in the study described that the 12-step programme was the only treatment that they were offered. The context of treatment in a professional setting, and in many cases, the only treatment offered, gives the 12-step philosophy a sense of legitimacy.