Sobriety is Much More than Not Drinking / Drugging

If you have an addiction, putting down a drink or drug is one of the most difficult things you will ever do in your life. The power of these brain (and hence mood) altering substances is so strong that it leads one to compromise every value that is important to them and ultimately march them towards death.


Yet to be sober, not drinking or drugging is not enough. Let me be clear here; abstinence (not drinking or drugging) is a phenomenal first step. Being abstinent will oftentimes lead to symptom relief. That is, there will be a physical and cognitive improvement. However, what abstinence alone fails to address is the spiritual component that one finds in sobriety and which truly represents a life of recovery.




For many of you, the term “spiritual” can take on a pejorative meaning. Let me describe what active addiction looks like using spiritual language and see if some of these words and concepts resonate: selfish, distrustful, dishonest, impatient, intolerant, angry, entitled, grandiose, hurtful, dismissive, fear-based, and controlling. Now let’s look at what sobriety looks like in spiritual terms: selfless, trustworthy, honest, patient, tolerant, gracious, loving, vulnerable, humble, grateful, helpful, inclusive, accepting, and surrendered. What a huge difference!


The reality is that active addiction slowly erodes the very spiritual essence of an individual until they are spiritually bankrupt. It is a horrific place to be; to act in ways that are counter to the very principles that you espouse. Sobriety is the answer to this, however, to rebuild yourself spiritually takes time and hard work. It is built not over days and a few weeks but in weeks, months, and ultimately years. And here is the best part of all, sobriety is there for everyone who wants it.