The Difference Between Abstinence and Sobriety

Relapse prevention groups focus on helping a client maintain abstinence or recover from relapse. This kind of group is appropriate for clients who have attained abstinence, but who have not necessarily established a proven track record indicating they have all the skills to maintain a drug-free state. Relapse prevention also can be helpful for people in crisis or who are in some way susceptible to a return to substance use. Fourth, people with alcoholism and other addictive disorders are known to have subtle, neuropsychological impairments in the early stage of abstinence. Verbal skills learned long ago (that is, crystallized intelligence) are not affected, but fluid intelligence, needed to learn some kinds of new information, is impaired.

Leaders also will need significant experience in modeling behavior and helping others learn discrete elements of behavior. Other general skills, such as sensitivity to what is going on in the room and cultural sensitivity to differences in the ways people approach issues like anger or assertiveness, also will be important. Depending on the skill being taught, there may be certain educational or certification requirements. For example, a nurse might be needed to teach specific health maintenance skills, or a trained facilitator may be needed to run certain meditation or relaxation groups.

Is Sobriety The Same As Abstinence?

Recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is an open-ended journey with each individual capable of setting their own goals and forming their own path, all while under the guidance and support of professionals and loved ones. Remaining abstinent from the use of addictive substances is the cornerstone of one’s progress in recovery, especially during the infancy of one’s journey. Recovery involves addressing all aspects of one’s self – emotional, physical, and spiritual. It involves admitting the wrong and implementing necessary steps to make the wrong right. A recovery program deals with complex sociological, psychological and physical issues that help in letting go of self- obsession and profoundly influence and impact the addiction.

difference between sobriety and abstinence

In all expressive therapy groups, client participation is a paramount goal. All clients need to be involved in the group activity if the therapy is to exert its full effect. Expressive group leaders generally will have a highly interactive style in group.

What is Sobriety?

The person is abstaining from alcohol, but in a way that allows them to still enjoy an occasional drink. The first step is acknowledging the existing addiction and the need to move away from it.[4] Practicing recovery meditation helps individuals learn self-reflection, so they are more likely to understand the consequences of substance use. Problem-focused groups’ primary purpose is to “change, alter, or eliminate a group member’s self-destructive or self-defeating target behavior. Such groups are usually short-term and historically have been used with addictive types of behavior (smoking, eating, taking drugs) as well as when the focus is on symptom reduction…or behavioral rehearsal” (Flores 1997, p. 40).

difference between sobriety and abstinence

The instructor usually takes a very active role when leading the discussion. Clients still use substances, but intend to stop since they have recognized the advantages of quitting and the undesirable consequences of continued use. With all that said, there is a lot of nuance to each of these pieces, but use some of these questions and ideas as a starting point on your journey. Please continue to Google, research, and find programs and resources in your community.

Step One

Stopping drinking or using drugs will bring freedom through sobriety; on the other hand, recovery teaches people to live without relying on substances. First of all, as mentioned earlier, don’t make a commitment until you are firm in your path to sobriety. Second, realize a commitment to sobriety is not a commitment to be forever perfect.

  • Learning the difference between abstinence and sobriety helps each individual continue to gauge their progress toward their sober goals and helps to reshape their attitude toward recovery and their developing lifestyle.
  • Many hospitals, counseling, and rehab centers generally treat patients, but the Haven Detox is one of the best where you achieve sobriety and a life free of addiction.
  • While abstinence cannot be tested, sobriety can be tested by the use of a breathalyzer or field sobriety tests.
  • His model can be tightened (to have more structure) early in treatment and can subsequently be loosened (to relax structure) as more abstinent time passes, recovery is solidified, and the danger of relapse decreases.
  • Abstinence-based treatment involves enrolling in a treatment program and acquiring the necessary tools and resources for recovery.
  • The important thing is to recognize the problem and take steps to remedy the situation.

You won’t find some of these great assets of recovery through only abstinence. If you want to have an improved quality of life or the changes and growth that occurs through the recovery process, then you should seek out recovery over just abstinence. Only abstaining from drugs and alcohol could leave you struggling with the emotions that come up when we remove the substances that helped us to numb which in turn could eventually lead to going back to abusing drugs or alcohol. Finding the joys and miracles of a new sober lifestyle is at the very essence of recovery. Once you experience these great joys, you can share with those that still may be struggling and give them hope for a life free from drugs and alcohol. Perhaps the most telling difference between abstinence and recovery is the fact that abstinence implies you are in control of your addiction.

This word “abstinence” can be an intimidating word to many, especially those in the early stages of recovery. Your whole body may convulse saying, “I’ll do anything, just don’t ask me or tell me that I have to stop forever.” This is normal. If this is how you feel, commit yourself to being open to new ideals and beliefs that may result in a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Ioana has a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and has been a freelance writer for over ten years.

  • Morgan is a mental health counselor who works alongside individuals of all backgrounds struggling with eating disorders.
  • Most group leaders who apply a process-oriented approach to group therapy with people who abuse substances recognize the theoretical influence of the Interactional Model (Yalom 1975).
  • Some of the greatest gifts of recovery are also the powers of healing emotionally, mentally, and spiritually to give you the best chance to live a happy and fulfilling life.

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