Is There a Difference Between Abstinence and Sobriety?

When life gets difficult because of addiction, cessation from drugs and alcohol is the key to a better life. Someone who abstains from drugs and alcohol is giving themselves a chance at this better life that they are hoping for. Abstinence can really promote the emergence of a dry drunk rather than someone who trying to better their life in sobriety. Although the two words are similar in definition, the actions you take are different. 


Someone who is trying abstinence to end their drinking and using careers is usually only white-knuckling staying away from drugs and alcohol. They may be rid of the drugs and alcohol, but the behaviors will still remain the same without changing the thinking that surrounds addiction. Drugs and alcohol are just a symptom of something bigger that these substances accentuate regarding pain and trauma. The phrase wherever you go, there you are, also relates to your addiction. Drugs and alcohol fill the void of the pain and trauma, and when the alcohol and drugs are taken away, the pain and trauma will still be there in full force. In lieu of having growth taking place, a person trying abstinence from mind-altering drugs is usually angry at the world because they can no longer use or drink to suppress their anguish. 


Although drugs and alcohol have been taken out of a person’s daily routine, they will fill up their day with actions that will lead them to recover from their addiction. Yes, there will be good days and bad days, but there is always hope that life will continue to improve with the recovery tools and principles that are offered as a way out from under. Filling the void of addiction through recovery measures means using therapy, the 12-Steps, being of service and connecting to a Higher Power to create an environment of positivity and strength. Although work is involved, the personal growth that comes about is a beautiful transformation in recovery from drugs and alcohol. 

The path to ending drug and alcohol addiction means that a person will either go towards their recovery or towards their addiction. A person who wants to stay sober in the long run one day at a time will go towards their recovery because a sober lifestyle makes for more happiness overall. 

If you are struggling to get clean and sober, Detox Center of Colorado offers a full range of recovery and mental health services that can help you to gain sobriety rather than just abstinence. Our evidence-based therapies can get you to see the benefits of working a program of recovery so you can be restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Give us a call today: 303-536-5463

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