To most people, the word “sober” means any person who is not intoxicated. In recovery, however, sobriety has a much fuller definition. Sobriety is not just about abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It is about moving towards complete physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
What does it mean to be sober? Dry Drunk vs. Sober
A dry drunk is a term for a person who is abstaining from alcohol without really any other change in their life. This person often continues to act out on the same behaviors as they did when they were drinking or using drugs. They lie, cheat, steal, and otherwise cause harm to those around them. They may be intolerant or feel superior to others. Instead of alcohol, they may use sex, relationships, exercise, shopping, gambling, or food to fill the void that alcohol had satisfied.
What does it mean to be sober? Emotional Sobriety
It isn’t enough to just quit using drugs and alcohol. It isn’t enough to go to meetings. It isn’t even enough to bring other alcoholics through the steps. Emotional sobriety is about changing your way of life. It is about trusting the process, and giving your will over to a higher power. It is about constant growth, constantly striving to do better, to be better, and to live your life based on spiritual principals.
What does it mean to be sober? Signs that you may need to work on your emotional sobriety
Some of the areas and behaviors that require work on one’s emotional sobriety include:
- Excessive anger
- Neediness and clinging
- Argumentative nature
- Self pity
- Delusions of grandeur
- Inability to live in the present
- Over confidence
What does it mean to be sober? Getting Honest
One of the first steps of gaining emotional sobriety is getting honest about what you are feeling or the way you are behaving. It’s not always easy. Many people in recovery see those around them doing well and feeling happy, and they don’t want to admit that they are struggling. They want to pretend that everything is okay. Many of them will take their bad feeling and try to pray it, meditate it, service it, or spiritually distract themselves from it, thinking that this means they are working a good program. They wear a mask and present a false spiritual self that represses aspects of their true self. They don’t even want to admit to themselves that they are not as happy as they pretend to be.
Being sober and having emotional sobriety also means being able to acknowledge when all is not well. It means shelving the ego and asking for help when it’s needed. It means being able to experience all emotions, not just the ones that are enjoyable.
What does it mean to be sober? Bottom Line
The bottom line when it comes to being sober is that putting down drugs is just the first step in a lifelong process. Being sober and living in sobriety is about finding peace and serenity.
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug addiction please give us a call at 800-821-9584.