Liberation through Sobriety engages the ongoing discussion of recovery and sobriety from addiction. No matter what form of addiction a person has (i.e., Alcohol/Drugs, Pornography, Internet, Smoking et al.). These articles will encourage people, who are traversing the road of recovery, to discover new meaning, purpose and change of lifestyle from active addiction to active sobriety. Through the recovery process, an individual comes to a new healthy lifestyle and has gained the necessary tools to engage and support their healthy lifestyle.
What do we mean by recovery?
The October 2007 edition of the Addiction Messenger, recovery is a process of change through which a person achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life. This particular process of change is not merely a commitment to abstinence, however, it is a commitment to an improved health, wellness and quality of life that sober living provides.
What Liberating Sobriety is not!
Liberating Sobriety is not to replace professional therapy one finds through community agencies. In fact, Liberating Sobriety highly encourages people to seek professional help for effective and meaningful recovery and sobriety. The content reflects the understanding, perception, and interpretation of the contributors perception of recovery and meaningful sobriety.
Sober Living guiding principles
The guiding principles that Liberating Sobriety adopts the NFATTC Addiction Messenger – October 2007 edition:
- Recovery is a personal journey – People hold to different beliefs. These beliefs are found in cultural identity, religious belief systems, and personal values. Because of this, there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” form of recovery. Hence, recovery is a personal journey where the person decides how they are able to make the effort to live one day at a time.
- Self-directed and empowering – Yes, there are many community resources and agencies that help give the necessary tools and support to help a healthy recovery plan, however, because recovery is a deeply personal journey, it also is a self-directed and empowering path to sober living. This means that everyone who commits to their recovery become an “agent of recovery” through their ability to make mindful choices and decisions based on their own goals.
- Recognition for the need to change and transform – The moment an individual realizes that there is a need to change and the courage and motivation to make those necessary changes is also integral to an effective recovery plan. This motivation for change involves all aspects of a person’s life: physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual.
- Holistic process – Achieving greater balance of mind, body and spirit is also important in the life of the recovering addict. By enduring through this process, change comes and impacts all aspect’s of our lives as we relate to family, friends and our community.
- Cultural dimension – Because our cultural beliefs, traditions and identity shape who we are as a person, our recovery stems from such traditions, identity and beliefs. These particular beliefs should be acknowledged as we continue through our path of recovery and into a liberating lifestyle that is sober and meaningful.
- Improving health and wellness – Recovery does not just stop once we have obtained months or years of sobriety. Recovery is ever evolving on a continuum of improved health and wellness for the addict. Each of us ought to take responsibility for our own recovery and continue to strive to improve our lives to support a health and wellness aspect of living. This comes with acknowledging our weaknesses, being mindful of our choices, and the types of environments we place ourselves in.
- Emergence from hope and gratitude – Addicts generally attribute much of their success to hearing about others who have endured much through their own recovery. The strength drawn from those who are also in recovery. This leads to confident building and security in knowing that an individual is not alone. Some addicts also attribute their recovery process as an “awakening” to the severity and reality of their addiction. Hope and Gratitude is a part of recovery.
- Involves healing and self-redefinition – Many addicts reflect upon how they come to a sense of “clarity” and “perception” once they have maintained some time of sobriety. There is also a time of healing that involves forgiveness, restitution (if possible) and rediscovering their own identity.
- Confronting discrimination and transcending shame and stigma – This involves recognizes our own bias and prejudicial perceptions. We many not fully eradicate such perceptions from our lives, however, by becoming aware of them will help us continue to work through the process of recovery. This is not only true for those who engage in a clinical and therapeutic profession, but is just as important for those addicts that are struggling to find support and services to meet their needs. The important factor is the recovery process and how we are personally taking responsibility for our own recovery process. It should not matter what the other individual’s believe in, what their political affiliation is, and what type of spiritual foundation they may have (or do not prescribe to). We ought to see ourselves in the same light as we see others. It is about accepting ourselves and capacity to accept others.
- Support Network – Our recovery process should never be something we engage in alone – especially if we are in the beginning stages of recovery. Having a strong support network of friends, family and community resources will help us support our sobriety on many levels. From beginning steps of recovery to the lifelong maintenance of recovery; peers, family and community support keeps us accountable and focused on what is important. In addition to this, being a support for others going through the recovery process is a big help because it reminds of where we have come and what we are able to share to help someone on their road to recovery.
- Rebuilding and reintegration – The first step of AA states that our lives have become unmanageable. Recovery is a means by which we reclaim a more meaningful and manageable lifestyle that is liberating. Once we begin to work on ourselves and see who we were in active addiction and discovering who we are in active sobriety, we are able to become a more productive participant within our community. The father who would typically spend time at the bar avoiding the contentions at home is now engaged in his family and participates with his children as they come to him with their problems, attend their games, recitals or other such activities. A person who had once been homeless due to his/her addiction find greater strength in themselves and “clean themselves” up to seek employment and work toward self-sufficiency and not become dependent upon society, but become interdependent and independent of their own volition. In other words, recovery is about rebuilding and creating a more meaningful life for themselves and those they interact with.
- Reality of Sobriety – For the addict, recovery is not just overcoming our addiction, it is a life long process of maintenance and management of our addiction. Since substance abuse is a “disease”, we must treat it like all other diseases. Having a sense of reality, recovery becomes deeply personal and more meaningful because we make sure that we engage in constant management of ourselves, our belief systems, and our values.
These twelve guiding principles offer a more meaningful process of recovery.
Again, the purpose for Liberating Sobriety is to give thoughtful, inspiring, and thought-provoking articles for those engaged in recovery; or for those who are working with people engaged in recovery. This is not to take the place of standard treatment, nor do the views of the content published here offer any form of diagnosis for substance use disorder. However, it is important to have an understanding, engage in the conversation about recovery, addiction, and how to manage a more meaningful sober lifestyle.