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The Difference Between Being Clean and Sober

Many people in the recovery community allege to be ‘clean’ and ‘sober,’ but what does this actually mean? The term ‘clean’ refers to not using substances. ‘Sober’ is also often used in this context; however, the definition of this term reveals a path and the desired personality. Sometimes we all want to be clean and sober in the same way. We say things like, ‘If I could just get dry’ or ‘If I could just stay clean,’ but then we dry out for a few hours or days and realize we’re feeling miserable. If we’re honest with ourselves, being dry and clean wasn’t enough for us, so we quickly reverted to what made us ‘happy’ – drinking and using. Do you recognize yourself in this scenario? 

What’s the Difference Between Being Clean and Sober?

The difference between being clean and sober is rather easy to comprehend. For instance, a ‘dry drunk’ hasn’t had a drink but still acts and thinks the same way they did when they were an alcoholic. This person has abstained from alcohol, but they have not refrained from their alcoholic practices. Substance abuse is a disease that affects every aspect of a person’s life, not just their behavior. Therefore, simply abstaining from a substance will not result in complete recovery.

Sobriety, on the other hand, entails more than simply abstaining from the preferred drug. It involves new ways of thinking, behaviors, and attitudes learned through a detox program’s steps. Recovering substance abusers learn to accept that drugs were not the problem; it was their choices that were. The unfortunate symptom was an addiction. 

What Does It Mean to Be ‘Clean’?

When a drug or alcohol addict says they are clean, they say that their body is free of drugs or alcohol. This happens when the chemical components of the substance they abused have left their system entirely, and the body can function in a state unaffected by these dangerous influences. Being clean is frequently the first step toward sobriety, but it is not sufficient in and of itself: we are clean once we have completed the first detox steps.

The difference between being clean and sober is that when one is clean, they aren’t actively doing drugs. However, a person who is clean is also not actively participating in a recovery program. In other words, These individuals are not doing activities that will help them stay clean and prevent a relapse. Activities that help people stay clean include the following:

  • Meditating or in touch with a spiritual source
  •  Attending a support group
  •  Working on their 12 steps
  •  Continuing to educate themselves about their addiction
  •  Being a part of a sober Fellowship
  • Having a sober mentor 

These activities help to prevent people from relapsing. A major key to sobriety is actively working on maintaining recovery.  This is a major reason why people who have been sober for years still attend support groups. Sobriety goes beyond abstaining from substances.

Sobriety usually includes developing a sober character.  This is when an individual who is addicted to substances changes their mindset and overall character.  As a result, a person addicted to substances can develop new ways and habits for dealing with life without drugs or alcohol. 

What Does It Mean to Be ‘Sober’?

Sobriety is a much more complex topic. First, being sober entails getting rid of all traces of drugs and alcohol from the system, but that is only the beginning. Sobriety splits into three distinct aspects, which are critical and essential components of any detox program.

There are three different aspects to sobriety:

  • Physical sobriety – it occurs after the body has been free of chemicals for a long enough period for our brains to start the recovery process, allowing us to think more clearly and make decisions based on reality rather than confusion and anxiety; 
  • Emotional and spiritual sobriety – we accept who we are, what we have done, and what we need to do to right the mistakes we have made (to the extent possible), learn to reconnect with others and begin to feel at ease in our own skins; 
  • Social sobriety – the process through which we re-enter society by making amends with others and developing to re-integrate with the world outside the recovery community. 

These things take time to complete. Physical recovery can take a few years after detox, depending on the amount of harm we’ve done to ourselves. It can also take months before we can even begin to think clearly. We may require the assistance of friends, counselors, and doctors to restore order to our neurological systems and lives.

What Does Recovery Entail?

Someone sober is simply clean and has stopped using alcohol and drugs. However, recovery involves more complex processes, such as: 

  • Changing behaviors that assist addiction and relapse, rather than just changing drinking and drug use practices. 
  • Recognizing that substances were not the only problems in their lives, but rather symptoms of a more significant issue. 
  • Understanding that substances frequently serve as a band-aid for a bigger problem in their lives. 
  • Working through the matters that led to the addiction’s development and promoting healthy coping mechanisms and solutions to these issues. 

People in recovery are in remission, which means that while they still struggle with addiction. An individual can learn to cope with emotional issues and the mental obsession with alcohol or drugs through therapies and medical approaches. This process can help them determine how to handle their cravings or even free their minds from cravings entirely.

Unlike those who enter sobriety without recovery, people in rehabilitation can grow healthy mechanisms to fill the void that alcohol and drugs left in their lives. Through therapy, they can develop spiritual, behavioral, and emotional methods to deal with their feelings and urges. Furthermore, people in recovery build great support groups and a network of people who can relate to their difficulties. 

Addiction Treatment Madison, TN

You are not alone if you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction in Madison, TN. Every year, thousands of people suffer from addiction, and help is available. If you require assistance to safely detox and battle this disease, putting you on the road to sobriety, call us today! Detox Nashville in Madison provides each of our patients with personalized, one-on-one care, as our facility offers holistic and comprehensive addiction treatment programs for patients struggling with alcohol and drugs. Call us today or contact us through the website to begin your journey toward a new life.

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