Recovery is About More Than Abstinence

Before enter into treatment, we rarely have any conception about what recovery means aside from no longer drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Achieving and maintaining abstinence is of utmost importance. However, there is so much more to recovery than not drinking or using. We begin, often for the first time, to grow and develop physically and spiritually.
Recovery is a process of growth. We find that our spiritual fitness and growth is intertwined with our ability to maintain sobriety. Not only do we achieve physical sobriety, but we also achieve emotional sobriety. Wray Herbert, in a 2012 Scientific American article entitled The Nuts and Bolts of Emotional Sobriety, explained that men and women in recovery learn to “regulate the negative feelings that can lead to discomfort, craving and—ultimately—relapse. Doing so is a lifelong project and requires cultivating a whole new way of thinking about life’s travails.” Through emotional sobriety, we are less likely to fall victim to common external stressors that may have previously led us to a drug or a drink.
We often hear that our lives will become happy, joyous, and free in sobriety. However, this requires that we are doing more than just abstaining from alcohol and drugs. If we are just hanging on or ‘white knuckling’ our sobriety, we will likely fall into the familiar traps of anxiety, depression, resentment, and anger that caused us to self-medicate with substances in the first place.
We engage in a process of spiritual growth and development that effectively changes the way that we react to life. We build up a resilience to stressors that allows us to overcome any obstacle in our path without resorting to the fleeting numbness provided by drugs and alcohol. Dr. Ingrid Mathieu, in a 2011 Psychology Today article entitled What is Emotional Sobriety, explains, “Being restored to sanity isn’t about getting the brass ring—or cash and prizes—or being ‘happy, joyous, and free’ all the time, but it is about being in the present moment, whatever it happens to look like.” There will be difficult times in our lives– this is true regardless of whether we are sober or not. Yet, when we are sober and actively practicing the spiritual principles of recovery in our lives, the difficulties we face will not be insurmountable. We will have grown so much spiritually and emotionally that nothing will stand in our way on our journey of recovery.

Your future in sobriety can become one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom. You can begin building a life of serenity and peace of mind by making the courageous decision to seek help today. Oceanfront Recovery, a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to providing perfect environment for men and women to begin the process of healing from addiction. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777