Sobriety is, at its most basic, the condition of being unaffected by drugs and/or alcohol, meaning sobriety occurs when there are no measurable levels of any mind-altering substance in your bloodstream.

That’s it. That’s all it means. That’s all you’ll find if you look it up as a reference, as a word lacking depth in the pages of a dictionary or across the encyclopedic archives littering the internet.

But we know better than that, don’t we?

Over the years and through the many trials we’ve faced, whether as an addiction treatment professional or an individual in rehab, we’ve all become privy to the fact that sobriety is so much more than the one-day or one-year chip you may receive, so much more than attending a meeting or keeping yourself from visiting a familiar haunt, so much more than repeating Bill Wilson’s words, so much more that simply keeping yourself from turning to whatever substance once helped you cope with life’s harsher realities.

Sobriety, then, isn’t simply defined by “working around” what ails you. No, sobriety is the acceptance that your life requires a bit of “creative destruction” toward its rebuilding.

Break down the Walls of Addiction, Build up Recovery

Standing in your way are the many difficulties you’ve faced as an individual. Be it psychological, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, or familial, your life has been defined by a series of burdens that have steered you from the acceptance needed in facing life’s challenges toward the denial telling you that escape is the only option.

Sobriety, thus, will require that you take a sledgehammer to the walls of perception, the walls of the ideology you’ve adopted to address whatever fears and dissatisfaction you may possess. Sobriety will require that you shift away from the world that once enveloped you and toward a world that may seem foreign. A complete one-eighty.

No amount of chips in the world will make up for this truth.

You see, drug and alcohol addiction work to infuse every aspect of your life. From the manner in which you approach your job to the words you choose in dealing with a significant other, substance abuse is spilling from every action and thought that makes up the entirety of who you are. In light of this, true sobriety, though achieved one day at a time, will ultimately fall short unless you express a willingness to break free from the “you” of old and start to build up the “you” of tomorrow.

It’s only when you embrace the baser realities of your nature, when you embrace that you need to effect the kind of change that goes beyond the technical definition of sobriety, that honest recovery from drug and alcohol addiction will be achieved.