The Difference Between Recovery and Sobriety

In light of National Recovery Month, we will focus on two crucial topics that are not commonly discussed about recovery: forgiveness and the difference between sobriety and recovery.

National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery”.

Our team at Quest2Recovery believes in celebrating recovery daily as addiction recovery is based on progress, not perfection. Each new day is one step forward in the right direction.

The terms “sobriety” and “recovery” are often used interchangeably however these two terms have very distinct meanings when it comes time to addiction. 

“Sobriety is a state whereas recovery is a process” 

The meaning of “sober”

Any individual who does not engage in drugs or alcohol is deemed “sober,” and although sobriety is part of recovery, sobriety often refers to a temporary state and fragile state. This state can change at any point in time with a sip of alcohol or the use of drugs to alter your mental state. You can go from sober, to inebriated to addicted in a matter of weeks. Individuals who identify as “sober” may be straying away from drugs and alcohol. Still, because they do not identify as being in recovery, they do not seek treatment for the underlying issues that initially lead them to drink or use. Sobriety can often be viewed as a day without using. Entering into sobriety without undergoing treatment and recovery can potentially have negative risks. Individuals who abstain from alcohol and drugs to become “sober” are more likely to relapse because they neglected to address the underlying issues driving their addiction. Additionally, entering into sobriety without any professional help can potentially lead to painful and even dangerous withdrawal side effects, especially when withdrawing from alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids. 

Many “sober” individuals who are not in “recovery” will experience a swap in addictions, formally known as cross-addiction. This occurs when someone trades alcohol or drugs for another addiction, such as shopping, sex, or food. By doing this, they are trying to fill a void that their old addiction once satisfied. They may be “sober,” but they are more likely still struggling with unhealthy emotions or mental health disorders. This new vice is another unhealthy coping mechanism. 

The true meaning of “recovery”

When an individual enters a treatment program and starts their recovery journey, they are not only making a choice to become “sober” but are also acknowledging the underlying issues that caused them to become addicted in the first place. Recovery is a lifelong commitment that works to treat the mental, spiritual and emotional aspects associated with the addiction. Individuals learn to fill “the empty void” with positive coping strategies, a healthy community, and behavioral solutions that they have learned through treatment. You gain sobriety and the tools and emotional stability to defend yourself against a potential relapse. This phase is the ultimate key to conquering your addiction and moving into a healthier, more balanced life and involves the following complex processes: 

  • Changing behaviors that contribute to addiction and relapse instead of merely changing drinking and using habits alone.
  • Realizing that drugs and alcohol were not the only issues in their life and that these are symptoms of an underlying problem.
  • Understanding that alcohol and drugs often act as a solution to a larger problem in their life.
  • Working through the problems that led to the development of the addiction and developing healthy coping mechanisms and solutions to deal with these issues.

Can individuals relapse even if they are in recovery? Yes. 

Relapse is a realistic part of the treatment journey. Although it does not happen for everyone, the goal of relapse is to recognize the urges, cravings, and triggers and use the tools and coping mechanisms you learned in recovery to prevent the relapse from spiraling out of control. This may mean that you re-enter a treatment program or increase your frequency and duration of therapy. Relapse looks different for everyone. 

Seeking recovery at Quest 2 Recovery

Our philosophy at Quest 2 Recovery is simple: heal the mind, body, and spirit in a family-like environment. We believe in a holistic approach to treatment, one that caters to each individual’s distinct needs. As a trauma-based treatment program, we believe in resolving the underlying issues that brought the onset of substance use. Our team of clinicians helps each client identify the faulty belief systems stemming from childhood, then psych-educate clients on the symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders to understand and alleviate the power of certain triggers”.

Stressed And Sober: How To Keep Your Sobriety

Recovery from addiction brings many challenges on the journey to lasting sobriety. The ups and downs of daily life can accumulate, increasing your stress level and the risk of relapse. Active measures can help you to deal with stress, so you can stay sober, regardless of outside circumstances. At Quest 2 Recovery in Lancaster, CA, we understand the problems and challenges of maintaining sobriety during stressful times.

Have A Plan in Place For Dealing With Stress

An effective substance abuse treatment program will anticipate managing stress as part of the recovery effort. You should have a plan for dealing with these common stresses before they occur, so you can reach for your plan to help you manage the emotions and impulses that are likely to result. Unfortunately, individuals may not always be aware of the buildup of stress in their lives. A number of measures can help them deal with upsets and disappointments before they occur.

Learn To Recognize Your Stress

Make a habit of doing an internal assessment when you are feeling out of sorts. Ask yourself a number of questions about your present condition and state of mind. Is fatigue making you feel less able to deal with a stressful situation? Have you been eating poorly, which can cause physical distress? Were your expectations out of proportion to the reality that is presented? Are you anxious, depressed or angry? Knowing yourself well can help you to deal with the ups and downs of normal life, without resorting to substance use to mute your emotions and reactions.

Remember To Breathe

Stress causes muscles of the chest to tighten, which cause individuals to breathe more shallowly, This reaction, in turn, inhibits the supply of oxygen to the brain and body. As a result, limited breathing can cause you to feel more stressed, unable to think clearly and out of control. When you feel under stress, stop and take a moment to focus on your breathing. Slow down your breathing, in and out, and you will find your thinking slows down along with it, and your body will become more comfortable.

Put Exercise Into Your Daily Regime

Exercise can help you to manage stress, by increasing blood circulation that brings oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body, including your brain. Whatever your exercise of choice, such as workouts, yoga, running or a formal sport, the activity will help to increase dopamine in your brain, which helps you to remain calmer and to think more clearly.

Learn To Meditate

Learning to meditate is a recognized way to deal with negative emotions and thought patterns. Take a meditation class or use a meditation app to help you to calm your mind and emotions, so you can manage everyday life more effectively.

Talk Yourself Out of Negativity

Self-talk can be an important method to change your thought patterns and dispel negative emotions. You may have to “get touch” to stop yourself from spiraling into relapse. Even self-talk that merely looks at the situation more rationally can help you to get to a mental condition that allows you to regain control over your emotions and reactions.

Talk To Someone

Whether you choose to take your problem to a meeting group, a close friend or a counselor, make the effort to talk about what you’re feeling and how much stress you are under. Often, the simple act of talking to “get it out of your head” can put the problem into perspective and input from others can have a calming effect that allows you to manage your emotions and actions more effectively. This is why having a support system is so critical to recovery after addiction. These systems help you to find different ways of viewing the situation and better solutions to manage them.

Take Time For Self Care

Make sure you put the time in your schedule for self-care. Each person determines what self-care entails. It may simply be time for reading, prayer, enjoying the outdoors or playing with your pet. You may have a hobby that gives you satisfaction and puts your mind into a better place. You may enjoy a sport or enjoying time with friends. Whatever puts you in a better frame of mind is your “self-care,” and you should make time for it whenever you are feeling under stress.

Choose Quest 2 Recovery For Help Maintaining A Sober Lifestyle

The addiction specialists at Quest 2 Recovery use their specialized training and experience to help individuals recover from substance abuse and learn methods to manage daily life. We offer detox, inpatient care, dual diagnosis care, and aftercare to help you maintain sobriety. Call Quest 2 Recovery today at 855-783-7888 to make an appointment with a counselor to overcome addiction and learn to sustain your recovery for a normal, productive life.

How You Can Enjoy Life More after Becoming Sober

Addiction can be a truly crippling disease.

According to the World Health Organization, 3.3 million deaths per year result from alcohol abuse. Somewhere around 31 million people all over the world also struggle with disorders related to drug use.

Becoming addicted to substances that can cause such irreparable damage to your body may seem so illogical, but when you are in the throes of your downward spiral, all that really matters is satisfying your dependency. Your wellbeing probably won’t rank high on your list of priorities at that point.

Still, many are afraid to let go of their dependency. They fear that sobriety will rob them of their joy and make it impossible for them to have fun in any meaningful way.

That is far from being the case of course. There is indeed fun in sobriety and by following the tips included below, people in recovery and those who have already become sober will be able to understand that there’s life after overcoming the challenges of addiction.

1. Start to Develop More Meaningful Relationships

One of the things that tend to happen when you become addicted to any harmful substance is that you start to alienate the people around you. When your mindset 24/7 is just about how you can satisfy your urge, you don’t often spare a second thought for the people around you.

It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re wrong to the people who care about you and ask for their forgiveness, but those are all parts of the healing process. By doing those things, you can begin to better understand what you were missing as you throw yourself fully into the arms of toxic substances.

Connecting with people, hanging out with them, and sharing a few laughs are all fun activities you won’t be able to enjoy fully as long as you’re addicted.

Being sober will also help you create new relationships with new people. You can expand your network and welcome more people into your life now that you are no longer dependent on a substance.

2. Become More Active

Being dependent on certain substances can really take a toll on your body. Even if you were a relatively healthy and fit individual before, your dependences may have changed that.

Now that you are sober, you can begin to reclaim what you lost.

Take up a team sport such as basketball to get in better shape and to get a better sense of what it’s like to be part of a group. If you’re not up for that just yet, you can also try out other physical activities such as hiking or camping. You won’t need any mind-altering substances when you have the wonders of nature stimulating your senses.

On top of all that, becoming more active can also reduce post-acute withdrawal symptoms, according to VeryWell Mind.

3. Indulge Your Creative Side

It’s not just your strength and the vitality that’s drained from you when you become dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. Your mind also loses its edge as well.

Some say that they use those substances in the first place because they want to alter their state of mind, but there is simply no need for them if your goal is to simply experience something truly special.

Devote your energy into coming up with a story that deserves to be told or if you’re more skilled with a sketch pad, draw whatever it is that is running through your mind. The mind can become so muddled when it is dependent on foreign substances, but now that it is returning to normal, it can come up with such wondrous works again.

4. Beautify Your Home

So, what’s the best way to leverage all those inspired ideas that are floating around inside your head? Well, one thing you can try is to start changing things around your home.

In the past, your home may have seemed like a sanctuary for your substance abuse, so changing it up quite a bit is not a bad move at all. Feel free to go all out with the changes you want to make as well. You’re fortunate to have a fresh start and your home deserves one too.

If you do have a knack for drawing or painting, you can even put your works up to around your home as reminders of what you can accomplish now that you’re sober.

5. Relax

You’re always running after something when you’re addicted. Perhaps you’re running after that substance that can provide that artificial high or something else that can eventually help you capture that elusive sensation.

There’s no need to constantly run anymore. You can now relax.

Take the time to breathe, meditate, and reflect on how far you’ve come since those days when your addiction overwhelmed you. Sobriety itself is the greatest reward, but even just being able to relax again is something you’ll be able to appreciate greatly.

Conclusion

The notion that becoming sober means no longer having fun is just flat out wrong. Using harmful substances is not a prerequisite for enjoying your life. Now that you’ve broken free from the clutches of those substances, you can start to see what living life truly is about.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is not too late to get help. At Quest 2 Recovery, it is our goal to help you get off drugs and live a better life. Contact us today!

Why You Should Build A Support Group In Early Sobriety

Whether we realize it or not we all have support groups of many kinds. We surround ourselves with people that validate us, and who help us in various ways.

When you get on the road to sobriety, one of the first things you are told to do is to cut ties with those people who are a bad influence. These are people that enable your addiction, validate your behavior, and encourage you to make bad decisions.

Once you begin treatment for addiction, you may rid yourself of bad influences, but then you will find a hole, or something missing. That something missing is a support group that can help you on the road to recovery.

Why You Need A Support Group

It is true that the journey to sobriety, and staying sober, is an individual journey you must take for yourself. Even so, that does not diminish the importance of having a support group. We need other people no matter what we are doing.

We all need a support group. Many of these are formed unconcsiously as we select a group of friends to associate with. This group will influence you for the good or bad. When on the road to sobriety, you can choose the support group you need intentionally. Choosing new friends is just one part of the road to recovery.

A support group gives us a sense of community. It is a social network where you can get support, friendship and hope that you will indeed overcome. Seeing other people struggle and overcome can inspire us to keep trying when the road gets rough. We can also be helped as we help others with their struggles. It is easier to fight against an enemy when you feel like you have allies in the struggle. Being alone, or feeling alone, is one of the things that makes addiction hard to beat, and makes sobriety hard to achieve.

The Benefits

People

One of the main benefits of a support group is sharing with each other. As you listen to other people’s stories, and as they listen to yours, you can become inspired to keep going. Part of the problem of addiction is seeing yourself as alone, which makes the addiction worse. Having that group around you helps you realize you are not alone. You may also learn something from the stories of other people, which also helps with recovery.

When you were under the control of addiction, you had friends that shared a similar interest and maybe even the same addiction. You may not have been aware of it, but they were influencing you to make bad choices. With a positive support group, you can have other kinds of friends, the ones that support you and encourage you to make good choices.

The friends are there every day, and you need that support. There are also times when the going gets rough and you need more than a casual friend. In those times you can get the encouragement you need through your support group or network. They are there to help you when you are struggling most. Another benefit is mutual support which gives motivation. You can help motivate others in your support group, and they can help you. By talking about issues you help and encourage each other.

Accountability

Accountability is another aspect of having a support group. Encouragement and validation that friends provide is great, but there is another side. You need to have someone in your life who will question you when you start slipping into old ways that could lead you back to addiction. The group supports you and encourages you, and it also holds you accountable and points it out when you do not do well. You will be doing the same for other members of the group. There is then, both a benefit and a responsibility in a support group.

Being part of a group gives you a chance to be around individuals who are struggling just like you are. it also gives you a chance to be around people who are recovering and they will be a great inspiration. It is easier to relate to people who are either in or have been in, the same situation you are in. It is easier to relate to each other on many levels.

Connection

The group also gives you someone to talk to who can understand your struggles. it is very discouraging to try to talk to someone about your struggles if they are judging you or giving you simplistic answers, which is what you do not need. The more you talk about your addiction, the better you will be able to control the addiction. Secrecy is part of what makes it so strong, so talking about it defeats that before it has a chance to grow.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t be afraid to reach out. At Quest 2 Recovery, we want to be there to help you on the right path of sobriety. Contact us today.