Addiction is a disease that can make life difficult for you and your loved ones. No two people have the same path when it comes to addiction or addiction recovery, yet we can benefit from learning about everyone’s journey.
Everyone you meet throughout your addiction recovery journey will have plenty of stories and insights on what it takes to get there, and they might differ from your own.
When discussing sobriety, one of the first things that comes to mind is the phrase “The moment of clarity” — when it hits you that you need to become sober, stop drinking alcohol, or stop any compulsive behaviors. Everyone has their own moment where the choice is clear, but not everyone experiences it the same way or for the same reasons.
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning of sobriety and how someone comes to that decision.
How Common Is Addiction?
Addiction can impact any person in any situation. Often we associate addiction specifically with substance abuse (alcohol or drugs). Still, people can become addicted to things such as food and gambling, negatively affecting their lives and mental health.
However, 14.8 million Americans suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, and over eight million suffer from Drug Use Disorder.
Despite all the risks of addiction, it is not easy to stop cold turkey. Often, people struggling with addiction know that they have an issue but aren’t motivated enough to stop. Not only can it be dangerous to go through alone, but it can also cause stress on your finances and personal relationships.
Signs of Addiction
Signs that someone might be suffering from addiction include:
Asking friends and family members to borrow money
Hiding the issue from people that love you
Hanging out within a new social group
Falling behind on responsibilities
Being unable to hold a job
Failing in school
Suddenly losing or gaining weight
Drastic changes in health
If you think someone is struggling with addiction, knowing how to approach them can be hard. People often feel enormous amounts of guilt and don’t want to burden anyone with their issues. People can also become defensive and deflect any attention from their addiction.
At some point, you will get your moment of clarity and decide to change for your own benefit. Being shown support from those around you can make this a lot easier as you face the next challenge of addiction recovery.
What Is Addiction Recovery?
Everyone’s addiction recovery journey is different. Not everyone suffers from the same addiction or to the same level of severity. Everyone has their own reasons for their addiction and must figure out the best way to get help.
Luckily, you are not meant to do all of this alone, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community is key to successful recovery journeys.
Addiction recovery is when you rewire your brain to function as it did before your addiction. You have to unteach yourself everything that your addiction has insisted you do. How people go about this can vary.
Some people will enter treatment centers for addiction treatment programs (inpatient or outpatient) and undergo detox if their drug addiction withdrawal symptoms are severe and require medical supervision. Some people seek therapy on their own or within groups to establish healthy coping mechanisms (emotional sobriety).
Still, others join sober support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step programs or online communities to find a sense of support 24/7. The most important thing is that you are undergoing the recovery process in the best way for you and using as many resources as necessary to succeed.
How Do You Define Sobriety?
Sobriety doesn’t look a certain way, but it typically means you are not using drugs or alcohol (or whatever you struggle to manage). Sobriety is the act of not being intoxicated, and many people who suffer from addiction consider sobriety and abstinence similar.
This is because every day, a person with a substance use disorder has to choose to stay sober and abstain from using substances (physical sobriety).
People that have issues with hard drugs might be sober from using those drugs but still occasionally use nicotine or marijuana. Their sobriety might not look like your sobriety, but whatever you do to avoid what has harmed you is a good step.
Maintaining your sobriety journey can be much easier with support and structure. Relapses do happen, but you can’t let them discourage you and instead must push back harder to retain sobriety. This is your comeback story, and you can do it.
Finding Clarity: What Is It?
When you suffer from addiction, your thoughts and judgment often become clouded and disorganized. You may make poor decisions that impact your health, financial well-being, and future happiness but are not aware of these negative consequences because you rely on your addiction to fulfill you.
Most people entering sobriety and addiction recovery describe their moment of clarity where everything finally made sense. People can see how bad their addiction has gotten, are made aware of all of the negativity it has brought into their life, and no longer want to rely on their addiction to function.
People might be given a second chance at a relationship that they’ve lost due to their addiction, and it encourages them to seek help. Or a person might overdose or have a health scare related to their addiction that snaps them out of it and makes them seek change. However it happens for you, you will know when it happens.
Accepting Your Addiction
Your moment of clarity might be followed by the acceptance that you have a problem. Accepting your addiction is truly the first step after realizing you need help. This moment might be guided by a drastic negative event that brings to light your issues. Maybe you’re given an ultimatum or realize the harm you are putting others into — no matter what, your acceptance is essential.
Many people who struggle with addiction and substance use disorders are in denial, and it doesn’t allow them to become sober. This can be a slow process at first, where you start having doubts and realize the negative ways in which your addiction makes you feel. It could take years to accept you have an issue, but the end result is completely worth it.
Seek Out Support
Support systems can do wonders — in fact, support and community are essential. Addiction is difficult to recover from on your own, but it can be even more difficult to ask those around you for help.
The truth is: everyone around you wants to see you thrive. Don’t be ashamed to ask for support as you go through this intense time.
However, friends and family are not the only people who can show up for you. Many relationships become strained during addiction, so asking for help from some people might not feel possible. Therapists, people in recovery groups, and primary care doctors can also be a part of your support network.
Find Treatment That Works for You
Treatment plans for addiction can look vastly different. Some people need to undergo a detoxification process surrounded by medical professionals to ensure their safety. Others might benefit from group therapy and recovery groups to find other sober individuals to engage with.
Not all treatment options are accessible to all people. Therefore, online forums and apps can also provide a safe space to build a community for support. You should try out a variety of treatment options to better understand your needs. Speaking to your primary doctor might be helpful in getting an idea of where to start.
Find Your Purpose
Many people that are in active addiction lose sight of what their values are. They don’t feel fulfilled by what they used to and are not motivated to do anything other than be in active addiction. One of the best things you can do for yourself when entering into sobriety and addiction recovery is to get back to your roots and find your purpose.
Finding your purpose can motivate you to push forward in your addiction recovery journey. Find things that you used to love and get back into them. Doing so can help soothe the negative emotions that drive you to use and instead replace them with joy. It will do wonders for your health and wellness to fill up your time with things that make you happy!
When recovering from addiction and trying to maintain sobriety, welcoming structure into your life can be essential. When we structure our lives around our recovery, we can put more energy into dealing with unexpected hiccups.
Many people who struggle with addiction lack structure in their day-to-day lives. Most of their plans are influenced by their addiction, and it can be hard to feel motivated.
It can help to wake up every day at the same time, eat three full meals a day, find time to exercise, practice good hygiene, seek out positive socialization, complete tasks and responsibilities, and engage with a sober support system.
Does it seem like a lot? It can be! But you’ll find that filling your days up means less time thinking about your addiction.
The Meaning of Sobriety
Sobriety helps us get to where we want to be in life. For many, it’s essential that we remain sober to live our best life. Life can be hard, but adding an addiction on top of everything else can feel overwhelming and impossible.
Becoming sober is a way to actively fight against your addiction. Surrounding yourself with other sober individuals or people that respect your choices to stay away from substances can make a real difference.
Knowing your limits and what you have to stay away from will benefit you in the long run. Your addiction recovery will be unique and specific to you.
How you end up there and what methods you use to maintain your sobriety are up to you and your support system. It’s great to educate yourself and those around you about addiction, sobriety, and recovery so that everyone can be prepared for the long journey ahead.
Seek Community with Sober Sidekick
One of the most important aspects of sobriety is community. Dealing with addiction alone is nearly impossible, as it can be isolating and demanding. Thankfully, there are plenty of people out there that are willing to help you become successful.
While treatment facilities and therapy groups can be helpful, only some have the ability to meet in person or pay for costly treatment options. With Sober Sidekick, you can access a community of supportive sober individuals who want to share their tips and tricks for addiction recovery.
What Is Sober Sidekick?
Sober Sidekick recognizes that community and understanding during the recovery journey are essential – and it doesn’t have to be in person. Meaningful, anonymous relationships can be created through Sober Sidekick and offer support virtually during difficult times.
Knowing that those you are interacting with are looking for similar accountability and support in their journey is motivation to persevere. You can track the days you’ve been sober, join 24/7 AA meetings, and chat with professionals when needed. You can message other users and find accountability partners who can help keep you on track.