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Maintaining Abstinence vs Achieving Alcohol Sobriety

Some people think that when they put down the drugs, they will become this wonderful and admirable person. In fact, sometimes those negative habits and tendencies get worse when a person stops using drugs. During our addiction we used drugs or alcohol for many reasons; to escape, numb emotions, relax, find relief, etc. Once we stop the drugs/alcohol, our greatest coping mechanism has disappeared. Simply, we don’t have the experience, resources, or ability to handle life’s problems and stresses.

Is sobriety a lifelong commitment?

Sobriety isn't a one-time event. It's a lifelong process that takes effort and commitment. Participating in an addiction treatment program can give you the support and tools to help you every step of the way.

Our representatives work solely for RMR and will discuss options only with our facility here in Southern California. Stanton Peele has been at the cutting edge of addiction theory and practice since writing, with Archie Brodsky, Love and Addiction in 1975; find him on Facebook and Twitter. AA’s monomania, its abstinence fixation, actually interferes with recovery. If you are practicing abstinence, you are absolutely on the right track towards freedom from addiction. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and happy to answer any questions you may have about our facility or treatment options. Reach out to our compassionate team to begin your recovery journey. If your drug-related problems are severe or complicated, you may be referred to a residential rehabilitation service.

Consider the health benefits

For the general population, the term sobriety often refers to not drinking any alcohol or consuming drugs. However, in the world of addiction recovery, sobriety has a much deeper meaning.

Nonabstinent Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorder – Psychiatric Times

Nonabstinent Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorder.

Posted: Thu, 26 May 2022 07:00:00 GMT [source] represents those who have given up their addictions, as well as the quest for abstinence. This may be done through 12-step programs or with peer support groups.

Let Ethos Recovery for Men Help You on The Road to Recovery

When it comes to substance abuse, however, abstaining from drugs and alcohol is only the first step. Because addiction means living your life under the influence of substances, recovery means shedding that old lifestyle and adopting an entirely new one. Today, substance abuse and alcoholism treatment are part of the medically sympathetic mindset.

  • There is a feeling of freedom that results from this commitment where one does not feel hopeless or without choices.
  • Depending on the number of criteria met, an individual will be diagnosed with mild, moderate, or severe AUD.
  • They later developed the 12 steps, the first being accepting one’s inability to control drinking; the last, helping others sustain sobriety by becoming a sponsor of a new member.
  • Dr. Klenk also reads avidly and enjoys spending time with her children, playing music, hiking, and participating in cattle herding competitions across the country with her Border Collies.
  • Possibly, but one will benefit from being on guard for them, as they can reappear years later.

The process must be personal and social, allowing each person to experience success on their terms. While a strict and uncompromising commitment to abstinence is vital for long-term success, it is not appropriate for everyone. Some people need more time to decide and may need to ask for help to reach a decision.


Ask yourself what were the excuses you gave yourself to use and dispute them. If you do slip, the outcome does not have to be an experience without worth, it can be a powerful learning experience. It does not mean that you will repeat this behavior in the future. Forgive yourself, learn from it and remember that a commitment applies to what we plan for the future.

What are two disadvantages of abstinence?

  • Experience shows that even people committed to abstinence may unexpectedly have sex and may not be prepared to protect themselves from pregnancy and STIs.
  • Many people may find it difficult to maintain abstinence over the long term.

Even simple things such as exercise and reading can help replace some of those negative habits with healthy new habits. Sobriety is about learning how to be a good friend, a loving son or daughter, and a real member of society. Sobriety is about learning how to deal with emotions like pain, embarrassment, disappointment and emerging stronger afterwards.

Reflect on the alcohol use disorder criteria

The substantial majority of residential treatments for substance use disorder in the United States advocate for an abstinence approach to SUD recovery, meaning no use of alcohol or other drugs for non-medical purposes. Rancho Milagro Recovery is a leading provider for addiction treatment specializing in evidence-based treatment.


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. It is important to keep in mind that there is no cure for addiction. However, a lifelong dedication to abstinence can lead to lasting remission. In modern times, most people consider sobriety and recovery one and the same. Many people struggling with addiction find it difficult to achieve sobriety.

Addiction support

Harm reduction approaches may be most effective for many people, while complete abstinence may be the best solution for others. A vital component of a successful sobriety lifestyle is developing healthy relationships with people in your life. Many people struggle with maintaining healthy relationships, and this can be a key reason for relapse. Abstinence looks the same for everyone, whereas recovery is unique to each person based on their treatment goals, personal history and individual experiences. Sobriety is a journey and all the individual needs for success is to keep on moving forward. This means facing all the challenges that appear along the way, and seeking out the right type of help and support. As the months and years in sobriety accumulate, dealing with life becomes a lot easier.

Of note, having more time in recovery was related to being in the abstinent group, a pattern illustrated by the pie charts above. Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Recovery vs. abstinence

” Reinforce that commitment in any way possible and rational. One of the best ways is to remember why you are making the commitment.

changing your relationship

With the right help and support, it’s possible for you to get drug free and stay that way. Much of these subjective uses are cultural in nature which means the same word can mean different things to people from different places. Four definitions in, and we finally have mention of abstinence — but perhaps not in the way one might expect. Humphreys noted that the findings were consistent whether the study participants were young, elderly, male, female, veterans or civilians; the studies in the review were also conducted in five different countries. The review was published March 11 in Cochrane Database of Systematic Review. Cochrane requires its authors to undertake a rigorous process that ensures the studies represented in its summaries are high-quality and the review of evidence is unbiased.

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