Sobriety Is Living a Clean & Sober Lifestyle
What does it mean to be sober? Sober means more than not drinking alcohol. Stopping drinking is the first, most important step on the road to recovery. However, without working a program to address the underlying causes and conditions of alcoholism, a person is generally considered to be a “dry drunk.”
- Of course, not drinking any alcohol is the standard definition of sobriety.
Sobriety is defined as being sober, abstaining from all mood-altering chemicals. Everyone is unique when it comes to staying clean and sober. There are some people who can just stop, and never need to go to rehab or join a support group. Others take up “moderation management” types programs where they can relearn how to control their drinking and or drug use.
There are programs tailored for everyone. For example, the non 12-step movement has grown a lot in the past few years, for people who don’t want anything to do with AA, or have tried it and it did not work. The largest non 12-step organization is SMART Recovery.
Most people in Alcoholics Anonymous consider drinking to be but a symptom of the disease of alcoholism. Those who are actively working a 12-step program, on a daily basis, are considered truly sober.
The term “emotional sobriety” was first coined by one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson. Mr. Wilson wrote an article about it entitled “The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety” in the AA periodical, The Grapevine” in 1958. In it, Mr. Wilson talks about how many recovering alcoholics stay sober but have remained immature emotionally and spiritually.
According to A. Anand, MD of the Cleveland Clinic; “Emotional sobriety, says Dr. Anand, is partly about being emotionally healthy enough to deal with the normal shifting emotions of life. “Emotional sobriety is about freeing yourself from being controlled by your emotional state — no matter how happy or sad you get, you’re able to cope. You will be able to cope with life on life’s terms,” he says. “If a person is struggling with addiction, they will misuse whatever harmful drug or behavior of habit to cope with whatever life brings them.”
Healthy and Happy
Staying healthy and happy while in recovery is important. Learning to take care of yourself is part of the process. Being in recovery for any compulsive behavior is a wonderful way to life that really works. It can bring a sense of peace, joy and harmony in the process. If a person is in a 12-step program, it can bring real support and encouragement. It can provide a wide range of “tools” for addressing life’s many challenges..
For someone addicted to alcohol and who meets the criteria for alcohol use disorder, achieving long-term sobriety can be very difficult. According to some statistics, most people who try to get sober in AA, fail.
AA was founded based on the concept to be successful in recovery, an alcoholic needed to transform themselves by working through each of their twelve-step programs.
Most addicted people have a very difficult time maintaining their sobriety without being a member of a support group. Today, research has realized alcoholism (alcohol use disorder) and addiction are diseases of disconnection.
In a landmark study, scientists offered an isolated, caged mouse the choice between cocaine and food. Gradually, the mouse was taking the cocaine and ignoring the nourishment. However, when that mouse was put into a cage with other mice and a more socially-enhanced environment, all the mice chose the food ignoring the cocaine.
This study showed, beyond a reasonable doubt, that drug and alcohol addiction was rooted in isolation, and the solution was to become closely associated with other like-minded people. Alcoholics Anonymous inadvertently stumbled onto this fact eighty-five years ago. One of their many mottoes is to “go to meetings”. It is a great way to stay connected and learn how to become more social.
Getting a sponsor is highly recommended.
We are huge believers in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Say what you will about AA, it is still the best way to stay connected, clean, and sober. According to the aa.org website, there are currently two million active members in 180 countries, including 123,000 groups worldwide. Recently, due to the Covid pandemic, AA now has another digital option to brick and mortar meetings; Zoom online AA meetings.
Living a healthy lifestyle
After going through the initial phase of the early recovery process, it’s suggested the focus shift to building a healthy recovery lifestyle. Most recovering individuals realize the need to cultivate the life skills started in treatment. Rebuilding relationships with friends and family can begin again on a new basis. Life-enhancing components such as exercise, spirituality, and nutritional eating habits are encouraged as the right way to bring your body and mind back into balance.
Most importantly, recovering people soon realize the devastating effects addiction had on their lives and health. There is a strong link between health, body, mind, and recovery. Here are some of the primary aspects to generate to have the best chance of maintaining and sustaining successful recovery.
Addictions play havoc on both the mental and physical health of the individual. Studies have shown good nutrition helps people recover their physical and mental health.
- Good nutrition and staying well-hydrated are essential to good health.
Whole foods play a vital role in the recovery process because improper eating leads to nutritional deficiencies and disease. Sadly, healthy eating is too often a low priority for addicts in the throes of addictive behaviors.
Exercise might be the last thing you want to do, or you might think about it when trying to maintain sobriety. However, the truth is that regular exercise or any physical activity can be an integral part of the effort to recover successfully.
Studies show that exercise leads to a sense of accomplishment, improved health, and increased confidence. In addition, training can give a natural high that replaces drug use.
Exercise takes time but in the right way. Prioritizing physical activity and regular workouts at specific times of day, you focus on living in the present. It also helps keep boredom and stressful thoughts at bay. Commonly, recovering addicts have trouble dealing with their anger. Exercise offers an outlet for anger.
In recovery, religion plays no part. It is rather a spirituality that recognizes a power greater than themselves, grounded in love and compassion. Spirituality is a power that gives meaning, purpose, and perspective to life. It is crucial during the recovery process since addiction disconnects people from spirit. To fully recover from a habit, it is essential to reconnect with the soul. It can help people find purpose in life and connect to a source and power greater than themselves. Being spiritual replaces much of what addiction takes away.
There are numerous benefits of taking up spiritual practices. First, they help individuals cope with trials and tribulations in their lives and control their emotions and fears.
- The recovery process can be intense, and to remain on the path, seek support and live a healthy, happy lifestyle.
Staying connected is vital. In today’s digital world, this is simple. We suggest joining an appropriate, 12-step support group and attending regularly.