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I’ve learned throughout my 15 years of experience with addiction, whether it be from being a family member effected, personally effected, in active addiction, in recovery, or working in the field, that there is a HUGE difference between sobriety and recovery. I could’ve sworn they were the same thing, but I realized just how different they are and how it can be applied to literally anything you are going through. However, I’ve realized that I can’t have sobriety without recovery and I can’t have recovery without sobriety.
Sobriety, to me, is removing the substance that you’re ingesting and addicted to. This substance could be anything; fear, self-hate, drugs or alcohol, violence, etc. So, for me, I ingested drugs. Once I removed the substance, I was sober. My physical body started to feel so much better. I was gaining my senses back and my sleep pattern was becoming a normal schedule. As much as those were good things, my mentality and spirituality now needed to be nourished. It was great for me to be “sober”, but now what? There had to be more than just not ingesting harmful substances.
So, I started my journey of “recovery”. Sobriety is still its own beast, it’s not something simple to maintain, especially after you do the research on the science behind addiction and how it effects the brain. Anyways; recovery. Recovery is the most beautiful way of life that I have ever discovered. It’s literally a whole new way of living. I removed the substance that I was ingesting so that I can start to work on the deep stuff that was buried inside me, the stuff that was making me reach for the drugs in the first place, subconsciously or intentionally. Recovery is A LOT of work, but it’s worth it. I had to dig up all the pain, sorrow, confusion, and hate that I’ve suppressed and address each one. As tough as that sounds, it was even harder doing it WITHOUT a drug. I had to address and FIX these issues in SOBRIETY. Impossible? No. Difficult? Immensely. I decided to tackle one issue at a time. When it started to get deep and painful, I reached for my Higher Power before a drug. I prayed, memorized scripture, and cried out to the Lord. I also used another powerful tool in my Recovery Chest; my sober network. I would lean on my mother and other family members for support. I also would call my sober friends and cry in their arms. It wasn’t always easy to do the right thing, but I wanted to test doing the right thing before doing the wrong. I knew where the wrong thing would lead me. I knew the result of using drugs. I didn’t know the result of “the right thing”, which made me a little curious. The curiosity led me to recovery, which then led me to true joy.
Recovery brought me a whole new perspective on life, a whole new way of living. I practice the principals in my everyday life to the best of my ability. I’m not always perfect and definitely slip, but at the end of the night I take a personal inventory of myself and where I lacked that day, I try to make up for the next day. That’s the beauty of the morning; it’s another chance to do the right thing.
You can apply sobriety and recovery in your life even if it’s not drugs and alcohol.
I also struggled with low self-esteem. I needed to get sober from this by removing the evil thoughts that would flow through my mind about myself, making me hate myself. After I started having sober self-esteem, I began my self-esteem recovery process. I again, as with the drugs, dug deep. I found out why I thought so negative of myself. I addressed my issues without allowing a negative thought about myself kill the recovery process. It wasn’t an easy task, but I got through it. I still struggle sometimes, as I do with addiction recovery, but again, tomorrow is a new day.
With addiction, you will sometimes unfortunately see someone with only sobriety. As commendable as that is, recovery is necessary. It is not only so rewarding, but it will keep sobriety alive and become long term. If an addict starts to allow old thoughts and behaviors resurface and then entertain them, it’s extremely likely that they will experience a relapse.
Some days I must visit sobriety and remove some toxic substances. Other days, I must enhance my recovery. As long as I am allowing sobriety and recovery to work together, I’m practicing a healthy way of living.
Interesting perspective! I agree with you, sobriety and recovery are two different things that complement one another. I’ve realized that a lot of people look at them the same and that’s how things get a bit complicated. I love how you look at recovery at being a new way of living…. bc essentially it is. It’s a complete difference in what and how you did things before realizing there was an issue. My mind is blown. lol I’m glad you found a way to look at your journey and found something that has worked progressively well with you. congrats!
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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