I pray that this column finds you all in good health and spirits. I am thoroughly enjoying sharing these articles with you and hope you find them beneficial. With that said, I would like to present a “frequently asked question” about living sober. That question being “Isn’t sober living only for people who once used drugs and alcohol?” Well, first, the short answer is a resounding “No”! But I will expound and give you all the long answer.
I have provided two definitions of living sober from two different resources, and only one of them included the mention of food and drink. So it is safe to say that the term “living sober” can encompass varied components. It can, for some, mean living as a responsible member of society, which is an overall goal of life for most. Being responsible can mean paying bills on time, keeping your family safe and cared for, or even abiding by the law of the land. Then to others, who have engaged in the behavior of using substances, it simply means living “clean and sober”, without the use of any substances. So if living sober means different things to different people, maybe it is something that all people can do. It is just an individual choice as to which definition fits your situation, and if it is something that you are interested in accomplishing.
You notice that I have not once used the word addiction, and that is because it only applies to certain areas. People become addicted to drugs, gambling, food, relationships, chaos, and the list goes on. Yet, let’s take a look at the meaning of that word addiction. Our friend Webster states the meaning as, “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)”. It appears that the traditional use of the word expands the meaning that may very well include most of the population. Another important factor in defining addiction is that whatever the behavior is, it usually is some experience that brings a person pleasure, satisfaction or reward. Without going into the long explanation about the reward system in the brain, I am sure you get the point. So hopefully this information can help you to better understand the different definitions of both living sober and addiction.
The final term that I want to present today is the word “recovery”. We hear people who are living clean and sober from substances say “I am in recovery”. So again, when the term is heard, many believe that it refers to substance use. However, what I honestly believe is we are all in recovery from something. It may be from a divorce, a serious accident, a serious illness, the death of a loved one, and the list goes on. Each day when we wake up, we are in recovery from having slept all night, and some people’s recovery is not complete until their first cup of coffee! Being in recovery from anything simply means that a person is in the process of “recovering” to their normal state. Recovery happens in stages and is more difficult for some than others, depending on the specific situation. This is just a brief excerpt about this word, but trust me, there is more to come. So, until next time.
Peace & Blessings
Mavis Jackson, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor