There are no guarantees that sobriety will affect a person’s morality. Drugs and alcohol are only a symptom of much bigger problems that can become even worse in sobriety without recovery. Taking away the drugs and alcohol just means that – the drugs and alcohol are taken away. Abstinence does not mean that a person will necessarily change into a different person, but a dry drunk can emerge in full force. Sobriety may refer to being clear of immediate or residual effects of any mind-altering substances. Colloquially, it may refer to a specific substance that is the concern of a particular recovery support program (e.g. alcohol, marijuana, opiates, or tobacco). “Clean and sober” is a commonly used phrase, which refers to someone having an extended period without alcohol or other drugs in their body.

abstinence vs sobriety

Instead, it sentences them to think of themselves as addicts, people who can never be allowed—never allow themselves—to have any psychoactive substance again. Sobriety as Americans commonly use it imbeds the entire Temperance elimination of moderation as a possibility. “Temperance” itself means moderation, and yet it came to stand for prohibition. And the elimination of the possibility of moderation eliminates policy discussions not only about legalizing drugs, but about how we can encourage sensible drug use now that marijuana is being legalized. So you could drink and be sober—you know, like when you pass a field sobriety test because you had just a couple of drinks over an evening while eating. Quality of life as an outcome measure in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Why The Hostility Toward The 12 Steps?

James Scribner holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. His career began working in the accounting industry as a financial auditor. In that role, James audited a national trade association with over 1,300 member companies that Addiction sell health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans. He also conducted official financial examinations of various non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations. This experience allowed him to learn the inner workings of almost any aspect of a company.

6 Months to Live or Die: How Long Should an Alcoholic Liver Disease Patient Wait for a Transplant? – Kaiser Health News

6 Months to Live or Die: How Long Should an Alcoholic Liver Disease Patient Wait for a Transplant?.

Posted: Tue, 12 Oct 2021 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Change is continual—the person, their situation, and the interchange between them are always in flux. Avoid labeling substance use pejoratively as addictive, bad, or equally as harmful in all forms or methods of use. That is to say, the majority didn’t even abstain from their “drug of choice” . Joyce developed severe depression, which antidepressants relieved. Eventually, however, she worried that she had become dependent on the medication, so she stopped.

Sobriety Does Not Mean Abstinence

Generally, at the very least, a relapse likely means that you need additional support while in recovery, also known as aftercare. Aftercare can consist of sober living houses, 12-step programs and ongoing therapy. These help keep you focused on your recovery, reducing your risk of relapse. Collin Reiff, an addiction psychiatrist at NYU Langone Health who specializes in substance abuse treatment, said harm reduction is a broad term that can be thought of as a spectrum, with the far end being abstinence. She admitted she was hooked on alcohol and started seeing a counselor. Alcohol had taken its toll – her job, friends, family and health had all suffered – and she wanted it out of her life. Her counselor agreed that abstinence was a good solution and they took steps to help Reagan achieve this goal.

abstinence vs sobriety

The family may have to walk on eggshells around the addict to keep them from getting angry and irrational which can be a dreadful way to have to live. Including even over-the-counter drugs like Benadryl, Afrin and Sudafed, to accepting prescribed medications, to believing use of anything that isn’t your drug of choice is okay (like Joyce’s controlled cannabis use). Naltrexone, Campral, and Antabuse are the three medications currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. Other medications such as Topiramate, baclofen, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , and ondansetron may also be used off-label.

Addiction And Associated Symptoms

You don’t have to live in a constant battle with these painful, nagging urges. The path to ending drug and alcohol addiction means that a person will either go towards their recovery or towards their addiction. A person who wants to stay sober in the long run one day at a time will go towards their recovery because a sober lifestyle makes for more happiness overall. In our addiction, many addicts and alcoholics develop unhealthy or negative habits and patterns that go beyond the drugs/alcohol. The point is that we develop personality traits and behavioral patterns that are not directly a result of addiction. These character defects and selfish tendencies become part of our daily life. The emotions and feelings of others are cast aside in order to maintain our drug/alcohol habit and lifestyle.

abstinence vs sobriety

This attitude towards substance abuse and addiction pervaded until the early 20th century once Prohibition had ended. Growing awareness of the influence that the chemicals of these substances had on the body and mind had begun to change addiction from a moral issue to a medical one. In terms of moderation management and addiction recovery, when the first thought comes into our minds we immediately consider ways of stopping the misuse of medications forever. There is also evidence supporting the theory that one can control addiction through moderation management behaviors, which was advanced by some researchers in the past. Abstinence refers to a voluntary restraint from engaging or indulging in activities or substances.


Choosing something truly important to you does not mean simply wanting to do something. Making this moderation management choice must be yours to make. A dry drunk is an individual who abstains from alcohol but continues to act in much the same way as when they were drinking. They are not using alcohol but in many ways they are far from sober. In AA, it is common to hear about people who haven’t touched alcohol in years, but have still not managed to find sobriety. Such individuals can be difficult to be around because they are bitter and resentful about their abstinence, and do not appear to be enjoying life, though they have stopped abusing drugs and alcohol.

  • For the general population, the term sobriety often refers to not drinking any alcohol or consuming drugs.
  • Achieving self-control for one to three years is an adequate method of therapy.
  • The path to ending drug and alcohol addiction means that a person will either go towards their recovery or towards their addiction.
  • Lovato’s disclosure has been lauded by mental health professionals, even if they don’t all agree with her publicly-stated approach.
  • MM allows its members to choose – alcohol in moderation or abstinence.
  • She comes to The Freedom Center with over 14 years of direct experience in residential and outpatient treatment between the private and federal sectors.

A permanent commitment means we are committed to a course of action for the future and we will do every thing in our power to fulfill and maintain that abstinence vs moderation commitment. On the other hand, sobriety refers to a condition whereby a person does not have measurable effects or levels of alcohol or other drugs.

Aa Shines

On the other hand, sobriety is about finding a new way of living to replace our old life in addiction. 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. It often means living a life that is free from using drugs and alcohol while repairing your life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Recovery means healing the parts of you that crave the drugs or alcohol to cope with life’s stressors.

abstinence vs sobriety

When it comes to abstinence, “Just Say No” has been a battle cry against recreational drug use for more than a generation. If it can be hard to say “no” to a friend’s “Oh, don’t be scared, just a little won’t hurt you,” it’s nothing short of agony to say “no” to your own mind and body when they’re screaming for their accustomed fix. Especially since there’s no walking away and they may take days to shut up. When people refer to themselves as a recovering addict, they may not have used for 20 or 30 years.

Marks of dependence aren’t a piece of this program, because there is no disgrace included. A 2006 Scottish study found that only 5.9% of females and 9% of males had been constantly practicing moderation management for at least 90 days before the interview was conducted 33 months after being recruited. Achieving self-control for one to three years is an adequate method of therapy. With five years of abstinence, this number drops down to a mere 14 percent. The physical withdrawal symptoms from quitting alcohol and drugs go away in a relatively short time, usually less than a week. But many people will experience long-lasting changes in mood, affect, and memory throughout early abstinence. If you are seeking help for an alcohol or drug problem, you probably spent a great deal of time with your drug of choice.

abstinence vs sobriety

Whether he’s leading groups or providing individual and family therapy, Kevin’s passion for serving those suffering from substance use disorders is always on display. When he’s not busy treating The Freedom Center’s clientele, you might find Kevin engaged in his other passion as an actor/director in the local theater community. Kevin’s expertise and experience as a Primary Therapist, paired with his natural talents and abilities as a speaker and an artist, have uniquely equipped him to reach our population and render top-notch care. Cheryl is a Clinical Social Worker licensed by the state of Maryland with over 30 years of experience in the field. She graduated from The University of Maryland with a master’s degree in social work.

We believe it could also work for opioid-use disorder to support the use of medication-assisted treatment, though we are just beginning to test this hypothesis. Moderation Management asks its members to go through nine steps focused on taking responsibility for one’s actions, recognizing harmful drinking patterns, and addressing problem drinking. If after that point members can drink responsibly, and in moderation, that is allowable. If not, they should continue to remain abstinent and may continue with the MM program or move to an abstinent-only type group. Several alternatives to AA exist that are more secular in nature. These alternatives to traditional 12-Step programs generally ask individuals to find motivation within themselves and to learn internal control instead of seeking an external source of power.