Sobriety vs. Recovery
so·bri·e·ty: Moderation in or abstinence from consumption of alcoholic liquor or use of drugs
re·cov·er·y: A return to a normal condition
Interesting distinction, isn’t it?
I spoke with a woman today who told me a horror story that is her daily personal life… in the midst of divorce for over a year, still living in the same house with this abusive man, and young child caught in the middle. I listened attentively, and gave support the best I could. Towards the end of the story, she says, “I have been sober for 8 years now, I know that’s not a long time, but…” honestly, I don’t remember the end of the sentence, because when she told me she has 8 years of abstaining from alcohol, and yet her life is still as stormy as she is describing, I was stunned. I responded by praising her length of time, and telling her I don’t even have 8 months, much less 8 years. She thanked me for listening, and then told me to keep coming around, because, “it really does get better!”
This conversation disturbed me a little at the outset. Seriously, if my life is that chaotic after 8 years of sobriety, I’m not sure what I would do. Obviously, everyone is different, and we all have ups and downs, but the 12 steps guarantee a life of peace and serenity beyond our wildest dreams. Trust me, peace and serenity are two words this woman does not seem to know.
So, I’m sitting in the meeting, and, I kid you not, the next person who raises his hand to share says, “people thinks it’s painful to do the steps, but it’s not doing the steps that keeps you in pain.”
I believe I heard that for two reasons:
1. To reinforce the importance of step work
2. To show me that abstaining from drugs and alcohol is not the same thing as being in recovery
Putting down the drink or drug is really just the first part of recovery. An essential part, to be sure, but to really have a meaningful change in your life it is critical to keep working on yourself, to keep searching, and to keep doing the next right thing. Otherwise you are simply a sober version of your same crazy self, and who wants that?
Posted on September 6, 2012, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, God, Health, Recovery, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.