For most people, Recovery and Sobriety have the same meaning. For me, these 2 words have completely different connotations. Sobriety is something anyone can have. It describes a person as being sober from a specific substance. For example, to be sober means someone is not under the influence of a specific substance or number of substances. In this regard, a person can achieve sobriety by simply not partaking in a substance for a day, a week, or a month and they are able to say they are or were sober. That being said there were a number of days in my past I said I was sober, and I was not lying. However, my sobriety never lasted long until I changed the way I thought and found recovery. Recovery to me is a way of life. It is gaining the ability to live life on life’s terms and advance as a human being. Recovery comes with work, deep interpersonal change, and realization. Recovery is a term many people strive for and only a few achieve. Recovery is balance in every aspect of a person’s life. Recovery is not just a word, or a term people use but it is a way of living. Recovery starts with the acceptance of some situation that is out of our control. The catalyst of a person’s recovery is often drugs and alcohol, but the true problem lies deep within that person, and drugs and alcohol are the way the person deals with their deep-down emotional trauma. Recovery is about doing the work necessary to learn to deal with whatever ails us be it depression, anxiety, abuse, trauma, or a number of other things humans go through. Recovery is about becoming honest with yourself. Recovery is about becoming honest and vulnerable with others so they can help us get down to our root issues and overcome them. Recovery is about allowing ourselves time to work through and heal from our issues. Recovery is about learning the necessary skills to deal with our issues in the future rather than running from, escaping, or numbing our pain. Recovery is an all-encompassing term that links our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual being. Recovery is something that never ends. I am a person in recovery, and I will always be in recovery. To me, recovery is constantly bettering myself, becoming a better more helpful person, and choosing to live in the moment rather than run from the past or hide from the future. Recovery to me is freedom from the ball and chain alcohol and drugs once had on me. Finally, my recovery bleeds into every aspect of my life. It’s my realization that I no longer have to escape from my problems because I now have the tools to deal with them on a day-to-day basis, sometimes hour to hour. There are many of us alcoholics and addicts in the world today. Some realize they have a problem, and some don’t. Some want to do something about it, and some won’t. I’ll tell you one thing, the day I quit trying to get sober and started chasing recovery my life changed. Today I can say I am 6 years sober and still chase recovery every day. I chase being a better person and doing the next right thing. I chase my higher power who I call God and have let him control my life and my decisions. Because I chase recovery, I now have a better relationship with my family and friends than I have ever had in my past, I also know how to deal with problems and decisions in a healthy way, and I am no longer a slave to the bottle or the pipe. I am truly thankful for my recovery.
JD Pack, LPC, LCDC