Why Abstinence is Necessary for Recovery Lasting Sobriety

Posted on: February 27th, 2023 by Cathy Caldwell No Comments

To see if you are living a life of sobriety or are you just being abstinent from drugs and alcohol and minus the recovery process. Most people struggling with addiction cannot successfully moderate their substance use without full abstinence. Additionally, many addictive substances like drugs and alcohol lower inhibition. Even small amounts of these substances can cause individuals to lose control of how much they’re consuming. Abstinence, on the other hand, allows the brain to reset itself, which gives individuals a fair chance at making a full recovery.

Finally, we review brain plasticity based on physiologic mechanisms that could underlie mechanisms of neural compensation. Where possible, we provide operational criteria to define functional and neural compensation. Interviews with 40 clients were conducted Top 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Sober House shortly after them finishing treatment and five years later. All the interviewees had attended treatment programmes based on the 12-step philosophy, and they all described abstinence as crucial to their recovery process in an initial interview.

Treatment of Cognitive Deficits

There are also other ways to get involved in sobriety, such as searching for spirituality and learning how to meditate. Even simple things such as exercise and reading can help replace some of those negative habits with healthy new habits. Sobriety is about learning how to be a good friend, a loving son or daughter, and a real member of society. Sobriety is about learning how to deal with emotions like pain, embarrassment, disappointment and emerging stronger afterwards. Living life sober, we are given a new lease on life and we have the chance to dramatically change our path. If you are just abstaining from drugs/alcohol and are not actively living sobriety, you are missing out on the true rewards of recovery.

  • Additionally, many addictive substances like drugs and alcohol lower inhibition.
  • Without substances to find comfort in, a person may resort to dishonesty, verbal abuse, anger, over-eating, compulsive shopping, co-dependency, etc. to find relief from the realities of life.
  • It is scary and uncomfortable to think about giving up a substance you have relied on for self-medication, sleep, and as a coping mechanism, despite the harm it has caused in your life.
  • Some interview person (IP) were former polydrug users and altered between AA and NA meetings.
  • When Ehlers et al. (1992) injected CRF ICV, they elicited an increased EEG theta response relative to alcohol nonpreferring rats.
  • On the other hand, sobriety refers to a condition whereby a person does not have measurable effects or levels of alcohol or other drugs and can be tested by the use of a breathalyzer or field sobriety tests.

Stress enhances craving during sobriety and increases risk of relapse (Breese et al., 2005; Breese, Sinha, & Heilig, 2011; Seo & Sinha, 2014; Sinha, 2012; Sinha & O’Malley, 1999). Based on these clinical observations, modeling stress effects on drinking in animals would not seem difficult, yet myriad papers over many years demonstrated mixed results (reviewed in Becker, Lopez, & Doremus-Fitzwater, 2011). Knapp et al. (2011), Breese et al. (2004) and Overstreet, Knapp, and Breese (2007) examined the role of stress on drinking in the alcohol-preferring (P) rat model. P rats exposed to stress during abstinences interspersed with 5-day cycles of voluntary alcohol consumption exhibited elevated intake following return of alcohol after subsequent forced abstinences. Moreover the cycling paradigm alone also elevated intake that added to the stress effect. Our Outpatient Program allows clients who have completed previous addiction treatment programs to continue their recovery in a supervised and safe environment.

Health on a planet in crisis

You won’t find some of these great assets of recovery through only abstinence. If you want to have an improved quality of life or the changes and growth that occurs through the recovery process, then you should seek out recovery over just abstinence. Only abstaining from drugs and alcohol could leave you struggling with the emotions that come up when we remove the substances that helped us to numb which in turn could eventually lead to going back to abusing drugs or alcohol. Finding the joys and miracles of a new sober lifestyle is at the very essence of recovery. Once you experience these great joys, you can share with those that still may be struggling and give them hope for a life free from drugs and alcohol.

  • This is especially true if you suffer from specific health conditions or are cutting back to avoid increased risk of specific health consequences.
  • When you first think about limiting alcohol’s negative effects on your life, you might find yourself bargaining, or calculating your ability to reign in your behavior and drink more responsibly.
  • Abstinence focuses on refraining from substance use, while sobriety encompasses a comprehensive transformation of one’s lifestyle and well-being.

Treatment professionals can advise if supervised detox is required, and provide next steps tailored to your needs. Recovering from addiction requires a series of lifestyle changes that help individuals regain control of their lives. One of the biggest changes is a commitment to abstain or avoid drugs and alcohol entirely. Abstinence doesn’t address the behaviors, emotions, and mental health conditions that contribute to substance use, but being free of addictive substances can help individuals realize the extent of their addiction. Additionally, abstaining from drugs and alcohol can also help individuals strengthen their impulse control, think sensibly, and better regulate their emotions.