What is the Difference Between Being Sober and Being in Recovery?

There is a big difference between being sober and being in recovery. While the two might sound the same and are often confused, they are two very different states of mind. Sobriety involves abstaining from your substance of choice. Recovery, on the other hand, involves working on yourself, focusing on long term healing, and getting at the root of the problem. While sobriety is one part of being in recovery, it’s by no means the whole picture. Let’s start by examining why sobriety on its own is not sustainable long term.

When you’re simply abstaining from your substance of choice without engaging in the other components of the recovery process such as therapy, group meetings, and other self-care and awareness-based methods, you won’t have the proper tools at your disposal to remain sober. The multifaceted recovery process sets you up for success by giving you tools to help you navigate the complex recovery road. When you’re sober, but not in recovery, you’re often relying on will power alone to get you through cravings. This is also called “white knuckling.” You might also find yourself turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as compulsive shopping, misusing food, or developing anxiety or other mental health disorder.

However, when you’re engaging in the transformational process of recovery, which is a lifelong process, you no longer have to rely on will power or unhealthy coping mechanisms. You can feel a state of well being, inner peace, and wellness through continued work on yourself. This can mean 12-step meetings, other forms of group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, and other forms of self-care and inner healing work. The American Society of Addictive Medicine (ASA) defines recovery as “a process of sustained action that addresses the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual disturbances inherent in addiction.” When you engage in the recovery process, of which sobriety is one element, you’ll be on the road to increased well being and peace.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is available. At The Beach House, we elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located on the sand in Malibu, California, we provide expert clinical care and a holistic approach to the recovery process. We ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. Start your recovery journey today. You deserve happiness. Call or text: 310-862-6845.

Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.