You’ve probably seen the terms “sobriety” and “recovery” before, used by people who wish to be free from addiction. Though many may not realize it, sobriety and recovery do not mean the same thing and there is a major difference between the two.
You cannot be in recovery without first achieving sobriety. However, it is possible to be sober without ever living in recovery. Understanding the difference can help you learn how to transition from sobriety to a more all-encompassing approach to lifelong recovery.
What Is Sobriety?
In the case of alcohol or drug addiction, sobriety means that you have eliminated alcohol and drug use from your life. Though you no longer live under the influence of substances, sobriety doesn’t mean that other unhealthy aspects of your life have changed. For example, you may still have poor or damaged relationships, behavioral health issues, or bad habits that need to be addressed. The same is true for sobriety for other areas in which you may be struggling: stopping the unwanted behavior is only the first step.
You’ve probably heard the term “dry drunk” to refer to someone who has simply stopped drinking (sober) but is still fighting addictive and destructive behaviors, such as being dishonest, blaming and failing to keep commitments (not in recovery). Many relapse because they have not made any fundamental changes to their behavior, learning that substances are not the core problem; instead, those are just a symptom of something deeper.
This is the fundamental difference between sobriety and recovery. While some people can quit substance use for a short period, long-term sobriety is usually accomplished by traveling the road of recovery.
What Is Recovery?
Celebrate Recovery® defines recovery as a life-long effort to build an experiential relationship with God, using the Steps and Principles to overcome any Hurt, Habit or Hang-up in your life. That means both dealing with the addiction and working through the issues that caused them to occur in the first place.
While the immediate goal is sobriety, recovery allows you to examine your feelings, beliefs, and behaviors; identify those triggers that block your progress; and transform short-term sobriety into long-term positive change. Recovery is the path to living a happy and productive life, free from addiction.
How does Celebrate Recovery® help you?
Celebrate Recovery® groups provide a number of powerful tools to help you in recovery. Because Celebrate Recovery® is based on the words of Christ and has a focus on building an experiential relationship with God, the Steps and Principles can be used to overcome any Hurt, Habit or Hang-up in your life.
- First, we can help you identify what sobriety and sanity actually look like. We have a variety of resources available to you, such as the definitions of sobriety and victory. Everyone’s situation is different, though, so a sponsor or Celebrate Recovery® leader will work with you to craft a definition of sobriety that meets your individual needs (whether your struggle is listed or is something else).
- Each week, we use the Chip Ceremony to celebrate the victories of those growing in recovery. Sometimes, especially for those who are new, it can feel difficult to measure that success. We are here to celebrate your victories!
- Weekly Open Share groups allow you to express and examine your feelings, beliefs and behaviors.
- Step Studies can help you identify the hurts, habits, and hang-ups that have a grip on you, and find pathways to freedom. Each study helps you understand more about yourself and your hurts, hang-ups, and habits and how God has designed you for freedom. To allow the groups to go more deeply, Step Studies close to new members after a few weeks, but new groups are started regularly so you can join one nearly any time with only a few weeks delay.
- Sponsors provide a more personal connection to help you on your journey to recovery. They will work with you one-on-one to give you the support, encouragement, and challenge you need to move forward.
- Special events and training events are group-oriented opportunities to grow, often shared with groups from nearby counties or area of the state.
The first step is to get connected. Join us for a weekly meeting (the schedule is here).