Author: James Anderson

Sobriety: How to Start and Maintain a Sober Lifestyle

sober alcoholic meaning

Their process of getting sober will depend on numerous factors, including the severity of drug or alcohol use disorder and long-term goals of sobriety. This article will describe sobriety in more detail, the challenges a person faces while working to stay sober, the options for treatment, and tips for building a sober lifestyle. The “drinking behavior” is especially important to note because many alcoholics will admit to having a problem and promising to quit or change, but do not. The next is monitoring their behavior and drinking habits to see if it has changed. A key factor in identifying the difference between casual drinkers (social drinkers and even problems drinkers) and alcoholics is the recognition of negative consequences.

If you get drunk during these events, you will likely ignore the headaches and body fatigue from too much drinking. However, people who have chosen sobriety acknowledge drinking causes more harm than good to their physical and mental health. When you are drunk, neither your mind nor body can function normally.

After all, you can’t hang around your drug dealer or old drinking buddies and expect to remain sober for very long. A dry drunk is someone who decides to get sober by going “cold turkey.” This is someone who quits drinking without the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, rehab centers, nurses or friends. Many people also refer to a dry drunk as someone is “white knuckling” their way to recovery.

  1. Sobriety involves positive mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
  2. The most crucial step is to join a community of people who will support and encourage you and your new lifestyle.
  3. Detoxification does little to change long-term drug or alcohol abuse on its own.
  4. Sober living homes are residential facilities for patients recovering from substance use disorders.

All this said, a high-functioning alcoholic is typically a period of time. For most people suffering AUD, it’s only a matter of time before they’re unable to hold a job and lose relationships due to their drinking behavior. The severity of the disease, how often someone drinks, and the alcohol they consume varies from person to person.


Detox can occur in a hospital setting or as the first part of inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. One study found that 68% of people treated in a detox unit experienced moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. You can expect certain alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as sleep disruption to occur, though some people can experience seizures and other severe symptoms. Sobriety can be a fixed-term goal like staying sober for a set period (such as Dry January), or a lifelong goal of staying sober from all substances.

sober alcoholic meaning

If you’re in recovery from a substance use disorder, you already know how much work it took to achieve sobriety, and you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid having a relapse. It may seem that relapse is the last thing that could happen to you, but the truth is they are very common for people new to recovery. In reality, you have to maintain your sober state if you want to progress your recovery.

Therapy is useful to help teach someone how to manage the stress of recovery and the skills needed to prevent a relapse. Also, a healthy diet can help undo damage alcohol may have done to the person’s health, like weight gain or loss. Many people addicted to alcohol also turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There are also other support groups that don’t follow the 12-step model, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery. You may again seek out the people and situations that support your alcohol use.

The best way forward for your recovery from alcohol or substance use is to incorporate a wide variety of strategies that will help foster success. Remember to care for yourself, seek supportive relationships, and consider seeking help from a therapist. The more strategies you learn to identify triggers, cope with stress, and manage your new sober life, the easier it is to prevent relapse. It may help to pick a quit date, or a day when you choose to discontinue use of alcohol or drugs. It’s also helpful to change your environment—for instance, avoid going to bars.

Identify Your Personal Triggers

Outpatient rehabs are another type of comprehensive addiction recovery treatment program. These addiction treatment programs offer many of the same types of treatments and therapies as inpatient rehabs. An emotionally sober person no longer escapes their emotions with drugs or alcohol. This allows them to deal with challenging situations and emotions.

sober alcoholic meaning

A sober alcoholic is someone who has been sober long enough to not be suffering from withdrawal symptoms or cravings. For lack of a better term, it’s someone who has their addiction “under control.” For many people, they reach this point in their recovery after a year. For instance, you could drink at birthday parties, anniversaries, or while hanging out with friends.

What are the symptoms of alcoholism?

In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), “dry drunk” is often used to refer to someone in the “pink cloud”.

Emotional sobriety can be described as closely linked to serenity. This is an inner peace that many people claim they find in sobriety. Anger is a normal and natural emotion, but how you deal with it will make a difference in maintaining your recovery. Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to avoid repeating mistakes and build better habits. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

How social drinkers behave when they’re drinking is not a determining factor, it’s their rate of consumption and frequency. If someone is drinking heavily and frequenting social events as an excuse, then that would put them in another category altogether. For example, antidepressants, if someone with an alcohol addiction were self-medicating to treat their depression.

Some studies find that this structure, along with a start date for sobriety and milestones, is important to some people in recovery. Outpatient rehabs are also a great ‘step-down’ option following successful inpatient treatment. If any area of your life is out of control, it will not help you maintain lasting sobriety. Shame is having negative beliefs about yourself and your self-worth. People in recovery can experience a lot of shame simply for having become addicted in the first place.

Others enroll in a partial hospitalization program as their first entry into sobriety treatment. Partial hospitalization programs are otherwise known as PHPs or day treatment programs. PHPs provide a high level of care, but patients can return home each night after treatment. Programs are usually around four to six hours a day for at least five days a week.